There is no advisory against vaccinating patients with autoimmune diseases, there is no contraindication to vaccinate patients on immunosuppressive drugs, unless they have severe allergic reaction.
The Canadian Rheumatology Association provides the following recommendations regarding the COVID-19 vaccine for patients under the care of a rheumatologist:
The COVID 19 vaccine will be safe and effective, but may have minor side effects like fever and pain at the injection site. These effects can happen for any vaccine. There are no major side effects, unless the patients had allergic reaction to previous dose or allergic to the vaccine content
Clinical trial have shown the effectiveness in 60 to 90% of the study group. But there is concern over effectiveness of vaccine in patients with unstable disease or those on synthetic and biological DMARDS, because vaccination trial excluded immunosuppressive patients.
The answer is yes. There are no studies evaluating the duration of immunological memory following natural infection. Though immunity from COVID-19 vaccines is yet to be determined, research shows that vaccine immunity tends to be stronger than natural immunity.
Two doses of vaccine, 28 days apart, need to be taken by an individual to complete the vaccination schedule. At present there is no sufficient data to ensure the duration of immunity, but it is expected to last from months to years.
The safety and efficacy data from clinical trials of vaccine candidates are examined by the drug regulator of our country before granting the license for the same. Hence, all the COVID-19 vaccines that receive license will have proven safety and efficacy.
However, it must be ensured that the entire schedule of vaccination is completed by only one type of vaccine, as different COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable.
Protective levels of antibodies are generally developed two weeks after receiving the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Even after receiving the COVID 19 vaccine, we must continue taking all precautions like use of face cover or masks, hand sanitization and maintain distancing. These behaviours must be followed both at the session site and in general.
Based on the potential availability of vaccines the Government of India has selected the priority groups who will be vaccinated based on their risk status. The first group includes healthcare workers because they are at high risk of contracting the infection and protecting them helps to sustain essential health services. The vaccination of frontline workers will help in reducing the societal and economic impact by reducing COVID-19 mortalities. The next group to receive COVID 19 vaccine will be persons over 50 years of age and persons under 50 years with comorbid conditions considering their high mortality risk. Patients with autoimmune rheumatic disease on corticosteroids are considered to be at high-risk of COVID-19 illness.
Source: Ministry of Family Health and Welfare govt of India, Canada rheumatology Association Autoimmune rheumatic diseases include SLE, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, and primary vasculitis