Ibrutinib and covid vaccination: Hello, I have a... - CLL Support

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Ibrutinib and covid vaccination

Green202 profile image


I have a brother 56 years old who uses Ibrutinib daily for 1 year and he is feeling well. I wonder if he should take a break from the medicine before covid vaccination or after or if he must take some action for exempel blodtest in connection with covid vaccination. Thank you for sharing your experiences or giving advice if you have received different vaccines such as Sinovac, Biontech, Astrazeneca, Moderna, pfizer, or other vaccines in the world.

17 Replies

I can only tell you my understanding. While it is believed that people on ibrutinib are more likely to get suboptimal responses to vaccines, I think the current thinking is to maintain people on ibrutinib. There is probably no data to show if being off ibrutinib for a short time helps with the immune response and its not worth the risk of getting off ibrutinib for any length of time.

Its a very good question though, and a good question to ask his doctor.

I took my vaccine while on an ibrutinib pause, but I had paused ibrutinib due to a rash and not to take the vaccine. When was ready to restart on acalabrutinib, my doctor did have me wait until a few weeks after my booster shot to start. But I doubt he would have paused ibrutinib for me just to take the vaccine.


Did you get any antibody results back yet?

Not yet.

michaelmac profile image
michaelmac in reply to cajunjeff

A little confused ,,,,,, It was my understanding that the low reaction (antibody) is all blood cancer . Is there any indication that people on ibrutinib specidfically , do not get as good of a reaction( antibodt build up )?thanks ,,,,Michael

cajunjeff profile image
cajunjeff in reply to michaelmac

Ibrutinib is an immunosuppressive drug and it appears those of us with Cll on btk inhibitors like ibrutinib are less likely to have an immune response to covid vaccines than those Cll patients not in treatment.


lankisterguy profile image

Hi Green202,-

As cajunjeff says, the clincal results so far show no reason to pause Ibrutinib, since those that did fared about the same that those that did not pause. And Ibrutinib is being used to reduce cytokine storm reactions for peope taking CAR-T therapy, which seems similar to the COVID-19 reactions that put people on Ventilators. But there is no data yet.


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I got my 1 st shot (Pfizer) about 3 weeks ago without stopping Ibrutinib. My lymph nodes in my throat swelled up 3 days in and lasted a day or so. Other than that things seem to be fine.

I have only been on Ibrutinib since February but have had both Pfizer jabs and no problems other than a slightly sore arm for a couple of days with the second one.

I’ve been on Ibrutinib since January 2020 and had both Moderna shots without pausing the Ibrutinib. I participated in the LLS study and was tested 3 weeks after my second shot and the report indicated a robust response to the vaccine.

I got the Johnson & Johnson 1-shot vaccine while on Ibrutinib without pausing and had no problems at all.

Received both Shots 30 days ago ALL IS WELL

Seven (7) years on ibrutinib. My doctor had me pause IBR for 7 days before vaccination. My results after the vaccination on the COVID test as part of the LLS study came back NEGATIVE. I did have the same side effects as my wife after the Moderna vaccinations - sore arm, and fever for 1 day after the 2nd injection.

Check with your doctor for his recommendation.

Lynn B.


Thanks for that info. I wondered if a brief pause before my Moderna vaccines would have helped as I too tested negative for antibodies.

Who knows for me but my doctor said not to stop it.


I am on Ibrutinib and got both my Pfizer shots with very minimal side effects, sore arm, very tired for about 6 hours.

Just as a point of information. I stopped taking ibrut over 5 months now. So far still normal. I was on it 1 1/2 years, am 76. Went off because of minor surgery. I stayed off it because of the arrhymia I had developed. The arrhymia stopped almost immediately and has not come back. I got a break from other symptoms too. Going onto acalabrutinib soon.

I did not stop ibrutinib or IVIG when I got my 2 Pfizer shots. My docs did not suggest any change.


I have been on ibrutinib for a little over a year. I asked doc about a pause for the vaccine and he said not to, I received my second Phizer dose in March, no problems.

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