Background We describe the early experiences of adults with systemic rheumatic disease who received the COVID-19 vaccine. Methods From 2 April to 30 April 2021, we conducted an online, international survey of adults with systemic rheumatic disease who received COVID-19 vaccination. We collected patient-reported data on clinician communication, beliefs and intent about discontinuing disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) around the time of vaccination, and patient-reported adverse events after vaccination. Results We analysed 2860 adults with systemic rheumatic diseases who received COVID-19 vaccination (mean age 55.3 years, 86.7% female, 86.3% white). Types of COVID-19 vaccines were Pfizer-BioNTech (53.2%), Oxford/AstraZeneca (22.6%), Moderna (21.3%), Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (1.7%) and others (1.2%). The most common rheumatic disease was rheumatoid arthritis (42.3%), and 81.2% of respondents were on a DMARD. The majority (81.9%) reported communicating with clinicians about vaccination. Most (66.9%) were willing to temporarily discontinue DMARDs to improve vaccine efficacy, although many (44.3%) were concerned about rheumatic disease flares. After vaccination, the most reported patient-reported adverse events were fatigue/somnolence (33.4%), headache (27.7%), muscle/joint pains (22.8%) and fever/chills (19.9%). Rheumatic disease flares that required medication changes occurred in 4.6%. Conclusion Among adults with systemic rheumatic disease who received COVID-19 vaccination, patient-reported adverse events were typical of those reported in the general population. Most patients were willing to temporarily discontinue DMARDs to improve vaccine efficacy. The relatively low frequency of rheumatic disease flare requiring medications was reassuring.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Competing interests SES has received funding from the Vasculitis Foundation and the Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium unrelated to this work. JL has received research grant funding from Pfizer unrelated to this work. ES is a Board Member of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, a patient run, volunteer-based organisation whose activities are primarily supported by independent grants from pharmaceutical companies. MP was supported by a Rheumatology Research Foundation Scientist Development grant. DA-R is a Scientific Advisor for GlaxoSmithKilne unrelated to this work. FB reports personal fees from Boehringer, Bone Therapeutics, Expanscience, Galapagos, Gilead, GSK, Merck Sereno, MSD, Nordic, Novartis, Pfizer, Regulaxis, Roche, Sandoz, Sanofi, Servier, UCB, Peptinov, TRB Chemedica and 4P Pharma outside of the submitted work. No funding relevant to this manuscript. RC: speakers bureau for Janssen, Roche, Sanofi, AbbVie. KD reports no COI-unpaid volunteer president of the Autoinflammatory Alliance. Any grants or funding from pharma is received by the non-profit organisation only. CLH received funding under a sponsored research agreement unrelated to the data in the paper from Vifor Pharmaceuticals. LeK has received a research grant from Lilly unrelated to this work. AHJK participated in consulting, advisory board or speaker's bureau for Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, Annexon Biosciences, Exagen Diagnostics and GlaxoSmithKilne and received funding under a sponsored research agreement unrelated to the data in the paper from GlaxoSmithKline. JSingh has received consultant fees from Crealta/ Horizon, Medisys, Fidia, PK Med, Two Labs, Adept Field Solutions, Clinical Care Options, Clearview Healthcare Partners, Putnam Associates, Focus Forward, Navigant Consulting, Spherix, MedIQ, Jupiter Life Science, UBM, Trio Health, Medscape, WebMD and Practice Point Communications; and the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Rheumatology. JSingh owns stock options in TPT Global Tech, Vaxart Pharmaceuticals and Charlotte’s Web Holdings. JSingh previously owned stock options in Amarin, Viking and Moderna Pharmaceuticals. JSingh is on the speaker’s bureau of Simply Speaking. JSingh is a member of the executive of Outcomes Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT), an organisation that develops outcome measures in rheumatology and receives arms-length funding from eight companies. JSingh serves on the FDA Arthritis Advisory Committee. JSingh is the chair of the Veterans Affairs Rheumatology Field Advisory Committee. JSingh is the editor and the Director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group Satellite Center on Network Meta-analysis. NSingh is supported by funding from the Rheumatology Research Foundation Investigator Award and the American Heart Association. MFU-G has received research support from Pfizer and Janssen, unrelated to this work. SB reports personal fees from Novartis, AbbVie, Pfizer and Horizon Pharma, outside the submitted work. RG reports personal fees from AbbVie New Zealand, Cornerstones, Janssen New Zealand and personal fees and non-financial support Pfizer New Zealand (all <US$10 000) outside the submitted work. PMM reports personal fees from AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Novartis, Pfizer and UCB, grants and personal fees from Orphazyme, outside the submitted work. PCR reports personal fees from AbbVie, Gilead, Lilly and Roche, grants and personal fees from Novartis, UCB Pharma, Janssen and Pfizer and non-financial support from BMS, outside the submitted work. PS reports honoraria from Social media editor for @ACR_Journals, outside the submitted work. ZSW reports grants from NIH, BMS and Principia/ Sanofi and personal fees from Viela Bio and MedPace, outside the submitted work. JY reports personal fees from Pfizer and Eli Lilly, and grants and personal fees from AstraZeneca, outside the submitted work. MJL reports grants from American College of Rheumatology, during the conduct of the study and consulting fees from AbbVie, Amgen, Actelion, Boehringer Ingelheim, BMS, Celgene, Gilead, J&J, Mallinckrodt, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sandoz, Sanofi, Sobi and UCB, outside the submitted work. LGR was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS; ZIAES101074) of the National Institutes of Health. JH reports grants from Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) and Rheumatology Research Alliance, and personal fees from Novartis, Pfizer and Biogen, outside the submitted work. JSimard received research grant funding from the National Institutes of Health unrelated to this work (NIAMS: R01 AR077103 and NIAID R01 AI154533). JSparks has performed consultancy for AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead, Inova Diagnostics, Optum and Pfizer unrelated to this work.
Funding This study was supported by the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology and American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation. Dr. Lisa Rider's involvement was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
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