A senior woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot. She is wearing a mask. A female nurse is administering the dose.

Understanding How the COVID-19 Vaccine May Work for Those Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Is the COVID-19 vaccine something rheumatology patients should consider? The consensus among rheumatologists, based on specialty-specific studies, is that vaccines should be strongly encouraged for the general population and in some patients with autoimmune disorders. Specific rheumatology patients should consult with their physician if they want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

At Arthritis, Rheumatic, & Bone Disease Associates, we can provide informed, experienced, patient-specific answers to questions like these as top-rated rheumatologists in New Jersey. For general information, an article published in Rheumatology Advisor addresses many related questions for RA patients.1 

The good news is, in rheumatology-specific vaccine studies, vulnerable patients with RA and related conditions can receive the vaccine without considerable side effects or disease flares. A portion of these patients developed a significant level of COVID-19 immunity, too, although they were a bit more prone to fatigue and muscle pain. It is important to note that with certain autoimmune diseases, vaccination is not possible. Speaking with your personal healthcare provider ensures you have access to the best information available for your health and safety.

Vaccines Protect Some Individuals Against Serious COVID-19 Symptoms

An article in Healthline notes that the protective benefits of the vaccine can be significant, even if the patient’s immune system does not fully respond to it.2 Yet, Arthritis, Rheumatic, & Bone Disease Associates has found, in some instances, a healthy immune response did not occur, and therefore the patient did not attain the level of COVID-19 antibodies needed to fight off infection.

Before vaccination, immunocompromised patients should consult with their doctor, who may recommend withholding some medications to allow the body to respond at its best. Timing is critical when taking certain prescriptions, and as such, some patients may be required to wait weeks to months to receive the vaccine. 

Again, a consultation with your physician is necessary to obtain the best information tailored to your current health circumstances.

Rational Reassurances from the Medical Community for the General Population

It’s important to note that since Pfizer and Moderna are not live vaccines, there is no risk of getting COVID-19 from them. As Healthline notes, producing and testing the vaccine quickly was an “all hands on deck” effort by the entire medical world.2 

Produced with speed but also with care, the vaccine is backed by published studies and results, which were carefully reviewed by the medical community. Patients with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine can talk openly with their doctor about the benefits and any concerns they may have.

Those who have successfully received the vaccine and are interested in learning more about a third dose can learn more here

We’re Here for Our Patients’ COVID-19 Vaccine Questions

Have you been wondering, “Where can I find the best rheumatologist near me?” Look no further! 

At Arthritis, Rheumatic, & Bone Disease Associates, we emphasize the health of our rheumatology patients here in New Jersey and are ready to answer their individual questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Our trained staff is continually stressing the need for a robust vaccination program for the general public whilst maintaining a cautionary approach when dealing with rheumatology patients. We’ve been treating patients with rheumatological diseases in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area since 1974, and we encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.



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