Title: Study Shows Corona Vaccines Well-Tolerated by Individuals with Rheumatic Diseases
Date: October 3rd, 2023
By: Pamela Dörhöfer
The German Society for Rheumatology has released study results regarding the effects of corona vaccines on individuals with rheumatic diseases, providing reassurance that they do not experience worse tolerance or serious illness as a result of vaccination. The safety profile of the vaccines remains consistent with that of the general population, according to the findings of the European Covax study.
Based on data from 5,121 participants across 30 countries, who have received at least one dose of the corona vaccine, the study included individuals with various rheumatic diseases. Among the participants, 90 percent had chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease, with an average age of 60.5 years.
Common diagnoses among the participants included rheumatoid arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. Approximately 54 percent were taking conventional anti-rheumatic drugs, while 42 percent were on biological drugs, and 35 percent were taking immunosuppressive medications. In terms of vaccine distribution, 70 percent received the Biontech/Pfizer mRNA vaccine, 8 percent the Moderna vaccine, and 17 percent the Astrazeneca vector virus vaccine.
According to the German Society for Rheumatology, the most common reactions to the vaccination were short local and systemic effects. These included redness or pain at the injection site. Concerns about the vaccine potentially triggering a flare-up of underlying rheumatic disease were addressed by associate professor Anja Strangfeld from the Epidemiology program at the German Rheumatism Research Center in Berlin.
Strangfeld, who was involved in the Covax study, stated that a “usually mild and short-term illness attack” was reported in 4.4 percent of patients after vaccination, with severe attacks occurring in only 0.6 percent of cases. Over 98 percent of patients continued their regular rheumatism medication without any changes.
The collected data also allowed researchers to assess the effectiveness of the vaccination. Only 0.7 percent of those vaccinated with inflammatory rheumatic diseases experienced breakthrough infections. However, it should be noted that the data was collected between February and July 2021, and does not include information on the Omicron variant.
These findings provide valuable insights for individuals with rheumatic diseases who may have concerns about receiving the corona vaccine. The data supports the overall safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, instilling confidence in the potential benefits of vaccination for this vulnerable population.]
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