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Spondylitis and the COVID-19 Vaccine: What We Know

Posted on December 14, 2020

Article written by
Kelly Crumrin

On Friday, December 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of the first vaccine for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Several other vaccine candidates are currently being developed and tested, and multiple vaccines may become available in the weeks and months ahead. MySpondylitisTeam will reach out to specialists in the days to come to find out what this means for people with spondylitis.

What MySpondylitisTeam Members Are Saying About COVID-19 Vaccines

Members of MySpondylitisTeam share a variety of viewpoints regarding a COVID-19 vaccine. Some are eager to receive the vaccine as soon as it becomes available. “It is a non-living virus based vaccine. Great news!” wrote one member. Others expressed more caution. “I want to know how the vaccine interacts with biologic medications. What are the side effects?” asked another.

Your doctor knows all the details of your spondylitis, the treatments you take, and other aspects of your health history. This makes them the best source for guidance as you weigh the benefits and risks associated with the vaccine. Many MySpondylitisTeam members are already talking to their doctors about COVID-19 vaccines.

What Is Known About COVID-19 Vaccines?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is reviewing clinical trial data on the COVID-19 vaccine to determine whether to recommend it and, if so, who should take it. The ACIP will consider factors like age, underlying medical conditions, race, and ethnicity. With vaccines on the way, people living with spondylitis will need accurate information to make decisions about being vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Here is what is known so far:

  • Most COVID-19 vaccines in development require two doses given 21 or 28 days apart. The first approved vaccine, manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, requires a second dose 21 days after the first.
  • Side effects, which may be worse after the second dose, have been mostly mild or moderate. These include fatigue, muscle and joint soreness, and pain at the injection site.
  • Vaccines are being tested in thousands of volunteers to prove their safety and effectiveness before gaining approval.
  • Additional safety systems are being put into place to continue monitoring for side effects as vaccines enter public use.
  • Vaccine doses will be free for American citizens, but some health care providers may charge for administering them.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend health care personnel and residents at long-term care facilities receive access to vaccines first.
  • If supplies are limited, older adults and people with specific underlying medical conditions will be considered for early access.
  • The federal government is developing a centralized system to distribute and track COVID-19 vaccines.

What Do People With Spondylitis Need To Find Out?

MySpondylitisTeam knows there are many questions that remain unanswered about COVID-19 vaccines. We will be reaching out to spondylitis specialists to find out the following:

  • Will COVID-19 vaccines be safe for people with spondylitis?
  • If there are multiple types of COVID-19 vaccines, will they all be equally safe and effective?
  • Will the vaccines be safe and effective for those taking biologics or other medications?
  • Will people with spondylitis be given priority for vaccinations?
  • What is the earliest you could get access to a vaccine?
  • Is there any benefit to waiting until later to get a vaccine?

Over the weeks to come, MySpondylitisTeam will provide updates as we learn more about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for people with spondylitis, including those taking biologics.

What questions do you have about COVID-19 vaccines? Share them in the comments below.

References

  1. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine — U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  2. 8 Things to Know about Vaccine Planning — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. FDA could authorize coronavirus vaccine 'within days,' if hearing goes well: HHS secretary — ABC News
  4. Your COVID-19 vaccine questions answered — USA Today
  5. How CDC Is Making COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  6. People with Certain Medical Conditions — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  7. Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Kelly leads the creation of content that educates and empowers people with chronic illnesses. Learn more about her here.

A MySpondylitisTeam Member said:

I was on Humira, but had to stop, it gave me psoriasis terrible.

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