The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance over the weekend regarding messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines in patients with underlying medical conditions. According to the CDC, “mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions provided they have not had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.”
The two vaccines currently approved for use in the United States are the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, with Pfizer’s approved on Dec. 11 and Moderna’s receiving approval just one week later. Both vaccines use mRNA. (Here’s a full explanation of how the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine works.) They have both also generated a lot of buzz—excitement in the scientific community, and caution or hesitancy among patients—as they are the first mRNA vaccines to receive FDA approval for any disease, leaving many questions yet to be answered as further research is awaited.
People with autoimmune diseases—including rheumatic diseases—have been a population of both interest and concern amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the CDC states that patients with autoimmune diseases are eligible to receive the mRNA vaccine, “they should be aware that no data are currently available on the safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for them.” They also noted, “Individuals from this group were eligible for enrollment in clinical trials.”
DocWire News recently interviewed Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, Fla., and medical advisor to CreakyJoints, to discuss what some of the top concerns have been among these patients as well as what information providers can give to these patients. (Click here to read Dr. Domingues’ full interview.)
Much still remains to be learned about the vaccines, Dr. Domingues shared, but when it comes to educating immunocompromised patients on the COVID-19 vaccines, he said the best thing to do is be transparent.
“We do need to acknowledge that we do not have long-term safety with either vaccine—we don’t, we simply don’t. However, the short-term safety evidence appears to be very safe. And the only way we can finish this pandemic is if everybody does it. So obviously, the frontline [workers], the healthcare providers, and the nursing home [staff and residents] are already being vaccinated. I think the way for us to agitate it is transparency, and be very skeptical about who you listen and who you re-trump, because there will be a lot of misinformation out there,” he explained.