Millions of people around the world live with a chronic condition, from autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and diabetes to high blood pressure and asthma. With these conditions, several different lifestyle considerations and changes must be made in order to live safely, healthily, and comfortably. So where does this leave the ever-variable COVID-19 vaccine?
The general consensus among doctors and experts is that the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risks that could happen due to a COVID infection. With this in mind, it is always advised that you speak to your doctor to discuss the pros and cons as well as make any necessary medication adjustments that may be needed in order to accommodate for the vaccination.
For instance, the vaccine may not be as effective on those who take a drug for rheumatoid arthritis, methotrexate. Past research has shown that this drug also reduces the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. There is also speculation that there may be a delayed immune response of up to three months. Steroid medications are known to suppress the immune system and are advised to be paused for two weeks before or after a vaccination.
Dr. Ramin Ahmadi, chief medical officer for Graduate Medical Education Global LLC, stated that “Vaccine side effects have more to do with an individual’s immune system and the reaction of that individual’s immune system to the vaccine than their chronic disease state,” in regards to concerns surrounding the vaccine with a chronic condition.
Unfortunately, the data surrounding those with chronic conditions or immunosuppression is limited due to the fact that the vaccines have not been widely tested on people in this bracket. But doctors believe that getting the vaccine may actually improve immunity; while someone on chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant may have a less potent immune response, it is still believed that the vaccine will provide protection, especially due to the fact that someone in this bracket may have a more severe case of COVID due to their condition.
Thus far, with the little information there is, flare ups of chronic conditions have not been reported, but it is not an impossibility and it could occur. Doctors are currently basing it on past vaccine information, which has shown that vaccinations rarely cause adverse effects.
However, if you have a chronic condition and choose to get the vaccine, doctors recommend monitoring your side-effects and seeking medical attention if severe side effects occur. If you have had reactions to vaccines in the past, then it is recommended that you get your vaccine at a high-risk clinic where you can be monitored for adverse reactions.