Rituximab or Covid Vaccine? : After various calls with... - NRAS


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Rituximab or Covid Vaccine?

debsy29 profile image

After various calls with rheumatologist and GP I now know I’m in group 6 for vaccine. I am due an appointment on 9 March with rheumatologist to arrange dates for my next round of rituximab. After speaking last week about the vaccine I learned that I can’t have the treatment until a month after 2nd vaccine. I chased GP back to say I’m in pain with joints and need my treatment to be told I need to choose which I think will be more beneficial to me. I’m shocked there is no flexibility with grouping for the vaccine.

11 Replies

There have been a few posts about this recently, if you type rituximab in the search box and filter for NRAS they will come up. They are getting the vaccines done quickly though so you may not have long to wait, depending on what area you are in 🤞🏻

The reason is rituximab will stop the vaccine working so it's for a good reason you have to wait until you get protected from the jab.

Yes it means a few months more waiting for RA treatment but it's better than severe illness from covid.

For me get the jab and talk to rheumy about pain relief etc to tide you through. It will be wirth it in the long term getting protected from this awful virus x

It’s not a question of flexibility......it is just the fact that If you have a Rituximab Infusion, & then have the Covid vaccine you just wouldn’t get a satisfactory result....in fact likely no result at all....but you would still have to wait 6 months for your next Rituximab infusion.So discuss with your rheumatology nurse how you are going to proceed.....we are all different in how we deal with this situation.

I chose the vaccine over my Rtx infusion, even though I was starting a flare, as my infusion was due this month.

Surprisingly - although I had a nasty reaction to the vaccination....the flare just stayed the same.,,it didn’t get any worse.

Of course it might not have progressed anyway ....but I’m glad I made the decision to have the vaccination.

I postponed my Rtx infusion which was due early March as I had my first vaccine on 10 February. Of course the 12 week wait for vaccine no 2 means that Rituximab can’t be until a month after then. So will be 9 months by early June/a month after 2nd vaccine since I had Rtx. I chose the vaccine over the Rtx infusion and feel it is the right thing for me to do. Everyone has a different set of circumstances. Usually I last a long time before needing a repeat of Rtx and don’t tend to flare these days but you don’t know when a flare could come so .... 🤞🏻

I also switched to one infusion only last year in September but was told that should not make a difference to needing it sooner then usual. Again 🤞🏻 Hope you can decide but I would rather be vaccinated and hang on for the infusion as best I can, but my RA is under control. x

There is some flexibility in the vaccine programme as the government have said vaccines can be given sooner if there is a clinical need. I suggest contacting your Rheumatology team and asking them to see if they can arrange a vaccine for you sooner. You can also discuss the timing of Rituximab with then too as there is also some flexibility in this if you are in need of Rituximab sooner rather than later. Read points 9 & 10 on this guidance. arma.uk.net/covid-19-vaccin...

AgedCrone profile image
AgedCrone in reply to bpeal1

The guidance you have mentioned is just that...guidance. I am sure the majority of people on Rituximab will have been speaking to their Rheumatologist recently & deciding which route to take...after all we already have to consider time scales with Rituximab infusions & the annual Influenza vaccination.

bpeal1 profile image
bpeal1 in reply to AgedCrone

Yes it is guidance and I hope people have been discussing what’s right for them with their teams. I’m lucky that my rheumatology team have been very proactive in contacting their Rituximab patients to discuss timings and arrange vaccination if necessary. However, if your team haven’t been so proactive it’s useful to see the guidance before you contact them because you then have a starting point for your discussion. It’s definitely not a one rule fits everyone scenario.

My advice is get the vaccine first .I’m on rituximab ans leflunomide and I am classed as extremely clinically vulnerable.

I’ve had the first dose waitinh now for the second

I’ve been told I have to wait 3 months after the second vaccine

Sorry but I'm more shocked at the attitude of your GP - so much for support !! Usually my 1st and 2nd doses of Ritux are booked at the same time. How are you finding things ? I had to decide between a foot op or my infusion. Feeling so uncomfortable with pain and swelling I opted for the infusion. Had to wait 3 months afterwards for my op. However 3 days before I was due to have it covid arrived and it was cancelled. Take care and stay safe xxxx

I’m very very disappointed in GP but can’t do anything about it. I’ve been on rituximab for 5 years and had very good results. I hope you eventually get your op 🙂

This is correct information. Assuming rxt is still the one I am starting... not sure at present... I have to wait till 4 weeks after the 2nd dose vacc. My view and my rheumy and gp’s view... the Covid vaccine is imperative and if you have the rxt and don’t wait then the vacc won’t work.

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