RA Sudden flare up & Covid jab : I was wondering if... - NRAS


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RA Sudden flare up & Covid jab

Baileyparklands profile image

I was wondering if anyone has experienced a flare up following the Covid Vaccine. I had the Pfizer. The first jab just gave me a sore arm for 24hrs, however following the second jab within three days I became very lethargic and developed a massive bursitis on my elbow (same arm as the jab) By the end of the first week I couldn’t move my wrists, hands, fingers, my shoulders became inflamed and now I appear to have general muscle pain in both arms. Im a RA sufferer on Methotrexate, which has been managed very well for the past 10 years, I have always had minor flare ups however this sudden flare up is the worse I have experienced since my initial diagnosis and has bought on Fybromyalgia at a level I have never ever experienced. I have been resting but fear the symptoms are not abating, I am at times in excruciating pain.

Could it just be a coincidence or has the Covid jab caused my immune system to become over reactive. Would be interested to hear of anyone else having the same experience. Thank you for reading

33 Replies

Lots of folks having minor side effects of differing symptoms with a couple here having worse problems. Best is to chat with GP to see if they suggest going ahead with the second or changing your type of vaccine.

Still better than severe covid, hope you feel better soon xx

Spoke to GP yesterday. 👍. Hopefully a course of anti biotics will do the trick. Thank you for input.

I had a flare within about ten days of my first Pfizer vaccine. But I had nothing after the second and, in fact, have not had a flare since early March - long may it continue.

I did think that the flare might have been due to the stress of getting to vaccine centre for 8.45am in the snow in January! By the time I had scraped the snow off (with help) and then driven to the centre in the next town along mostly cleared roads, parked on the rutted and partially cleared car park, walked gingerly over the snow, stood outside in a queue, waited inside in a queue...I was in quite a state! But everyone was so happy to be there, including all the volunteers staffing the centre, who found me a chair to wait on after I asked inside.

Goodness what a palava for your first jab. I had the snow on my second jab, thankfully I didn't have the stress to go with it.

It's hard to say if it is the vaccine causing your problems isn't it? I hope your medics can help get you back to how you were. I would be on to them for help.

Hi GinnE. Looks like it was the jab. Spoke to GP she confirmed it was most likely the jab that caused the flare up. Hopefully the course of steroids she put me on will bring inflammation levels down.

Glad you got an answer.

I would say make contact with Rheumatology. I had a steroid injection after the first Pfizer jab.

Couldnt get hold of rheumatologist, but doctor put me on steroids.

I had a really bad flare up 10? Days after Pfizer. Not sure if this was the cause as I had recently reduced MX, but it did happen after 2nd Pfizer as well ( the flare hadn’t completely gone away)Rheum nurse said a few patients had had the same experience, -

My doctor confirmed the same.

I spoke to my rheumatologist after my meds stopped working after 1st jag. She arranged for me to get my 2nd jab earlier so they could change my meds. I would contact your rheumatology team rather than your GP as they would have to refer you to rheumatology

I had the Astra Zeneca vaccine and after the first dose within 3 days my RA worsened and I couldn’t turn easily in bed at night - my left elbow became inflamed and my coccyx. My CRP went from 80 to 129. I reported it to my GP and consultant and on line with the yellow card scheme. My GP did an antibody test before I was due to have my second dose and very worryingly it came back negative. I went ahead with the second dose and I was ok.

I had my first ever flu vaccine early March 2020 and I’ve had the worst time ever with RA since then. Before having the flu jab I was walking 4 miles every day and my CRP was 12. After the jab it shot up to 185. My GPsaid it’s ‘ a known risk’ for people with RA. I really feel this should be more wildly known so people can make an informed an informed choice. It’s not ethical to not make it known.

I hope things get better for you soon.

Thank you for sharing your experience. I am now convinced my flare up is due to the vaccine. Of course the benefits by far outweigh the risk of a massive flare up, I did yellow card my elbow, but not the rest as I became bedridden over a number of days. I shall also yellow card my flare up. I shall also contact my GP for an anti body test, just to make sure I am covered for Covid. If I can get through, I did attempt to contact GP in the first week, told receptionist that I thought my body had reacted to Covid and I was in a lot of pain, three times I tried to get an appointment, no luck. I’ll now also contact my Rheumatologist, Once again thank you

To some extent we are guinea pigs with the vaccine. I too was practically bedridden for a few days. My consultant said you need at least 3 weeks for antibodies to build up. Going through all of this, I hope we and anybody else who is immune compromised, have got some antibodies.

Hessie5 profile image
Hessie5 in reply to Kalimera57

Thanks for sharing this info - I hope you are feeling better now. Would you have made a different choice?

Kalimera57 profile image
Kalimera57 in reply to Hessie5

If I could go back in time Hessie5 I would never have had my first flu jab early March 2020. I had been almost pain free for 6 months, my CRP was 12 and I was taking and picking up my grandson from school which was 4 miles each day. Within 3 days of the flu jab my knees became painful, then both hips and in the autumn last year both heals and my neck. My haemoglobin dropped to 78 and I was admitted to hospital for a weekend and then had iron fusions. (70 you need a blood transfusion). Then I had to have an endoscopy and colonoscopy in case I was losing blood from somewhere ( thankfully I wasn’t !) . If I had known a flu jab was a ‘known risk’ for people with RA I would never have had it. I’m getting better slowly but I’ve had 8 months on methotrexate which hasn’t done much and now I’m down for biologics all because I was persuaded to have my first ever flu jab. I’m particularly sensitive to vaccines and of course not everyone would have my experience. In the past catching flu gave me 2 three year periods of remission which I’m hugely grateful for . As soon as flu symptoms started I could feel the inflammation draining away .

Wishing you as well as you can be Hessie5.

Yes, it took me about 6 weeks to feel “normal” after the first jab (AZ). I had the second one 2 weeks ago and I’m really struggling again - swollen knees and elbows and hips that are insanely sore. Fatigue is also through the roof. But I try to remember that it will pass - and so will yours xx

Hi LoneEra, thank you so much for sharing your experience. It has put prospective on everything. I am so sorry to hear how bad things are for you at the moment, Personally, I don't have a bad word to say about the Covid vaccine, I just wished more was known on side effects for people with Auto Immune diseases . I have yellow card all my symptoms because its important for research and the future.

My GP finally contacted me today. I am going on a course of steroids to bring the inflammation to a manageable level. In the meantime like you

I am waiting with bated breath for the flare to abate. Take care sandra

Thanks, Sandra. It’s strangely comforting to know I’m not alone in this! It has been getting me down, to be honest. But I agree that the vaccine is very important. Really hope the steroids do the trick for you. Take care xx

My hips don't lie since the 2nd jab they have been having a real go at me but then like the kids song head, shoulders, elbows, knees and toes. Finding it hard to get comfortable on sofa or in bed and feel like the 2nf jab has made everything particularly tender.

LoneEra profile image
LoneEra in reply to Deeb1764

Oh no, sounds like we’re a matching pair at the moment! Really hoping it all jogs on soon x

Deeb1764 profile image
Deeb1764 in reply to LoneEra

I wish it would I did not realise till this week how much I hate my hips hurting. I was ok a few weeks back when it was the odd day now every day and it sucks. x

LoneEra profile image
LoneEra in reply to Deeb1764

😢💗 It does suck. And the RA plus fibro combo makes it worse. My physio has got me doing bum clenches - both cheeks together and hold for 10 seconds and then alternate cheeks and hold - to try to sort the area out. I’ve been doing them as much as possible for about 4 days now and I think am seeing a little improvement x

Deeb1764 profile image
Deeb1764 in reply to LoneEra

That's my weekend sorted then bum clenching!

LoneEra profile image
LoneEra in reply to Deeb1764

🍑 💪😂

Same for me, after two and a half years of pretty much remission on Mthx, I’ve now, about a week after my second jab experienced a horrible flare up with my neck and shoulder on the same side as my jab. I had no side effects at all though, no headaches, sore arm, fever etc when I had the jab, but I’m wondering now if the jab has caused this. My GP has put me back on a short course of steroids as I can’t get in contact with my Consultant. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, not sure 🤷‍♀️

You need to report it to the NHS covid yellow card system and if others have had the same reaction they will look into it !

I did yellow card it. I realise it’s important for research.

I did the yellow card too. However second jab no problem at all- terrific 😃

Very interesting reading your post. I had never had any issues with arthritis at all, then I had the AZ vaccine on 28 January 2021, within a week my hands and fingers had swollen so much I could not use my hands,,,diagnosed with rapid onset inflammatory arthritis, referred to rheumatology clinic, sadly it did not materialise. 6 weeks later things were very bad for me, all personal care was so difficult and I live by myself..my mood dropped and during a meeting with a gp, I was asked if I had thought of harming myself, when I replied yes, immediately things happened, I was given prednisolone, and an appointment with rheumatology consultant...he diagnosed RA..2 days ago he added fibromyalgia into the mix..consultants and different GPs will not confirm or deny the connection between AZ jab and RA. I know what I believe...starting methotrexate tomorrow..fingers crossed..take care..

I’m so sorry to hear how ill you was after the jab. I read myself in your story the flare up, the fibromyalgia, I was bed bound because my muscles had tightened up limiting my movement. It was the worse symptoms I have ever had. It was DEFINITELY the vaccine

Did you go online and yellow card your symptoms. The data they collect is the only way the scientists and medical profession can learn and understand the effects the vaccine can have on groups of people and prepare for side effects.

It’s a strange thing the immune system, none of us know when it’s going to go haywire but for those of us who are effected by it’s ability to malfunction know only too well the pain and suffering we have all endured and how prolonged the process of being listened to, finally diagnosed and treated is. I fully understand what you have been going through. It is sad for me to read that the AZ vaccine triggered off early onset of RA, the problem is the vaccines are meant to wake up the immune system, for RA sufferers our management of the disorder is a weekly medication regime to suppress the immune system. Sounds as though the vaccine has triggered off this condition, which you may unknowingly have had a disposition for. I too was given prednisolone to bring the flare up under control, happily it worked and I’m back to my normal RA self. I have every respect for the medical profession, however they are not Gods, if I was given money for every time someone said the words “I think “. Then I would be a wealthy person. I’ve learnt not to accept what doctors think I want facts. So if anyone tells you they think the vaccine didn’t cause a RA flare up, your entitled to see the data that backs up their thinking.

One things for sure you and I don’t think, we know from experience that the vaccine effected our immune system in a way to render us disabled.

Keep in touch


Hope you get some relief soon. My friend has ITP and she has been unwell since first jab. Her consultant thinks the jab upset her internal balance - that will do it then!!!

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