Confused about COVID vaccines and Immune Sup... - Vasculitis UK

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Confused about COVID vaccines and Immune Suppressed? I am!

Investigator1 profile image
Investigator1

I was feeling upbeat about the prospect of vaccines I probably was wrong thinking we could take them because they were not live, that’s my fault I guess, blind optimism maybe. Yesterday I went to see my specialist to check on progress of my transfer from Azathioprine to Rituximab, all seemed good until I asked the question what about the COVID vaccine for me, and was told “not for you Nick” “the two vaccines you are talking about are live” you will catch COVID. I then asked well can my wife be vaccinated, to be told there are doubts because we don’t know if it can be secreted, if not yes she will get it. So I am now totally confused......has anybody that has greatly reduced immune system been told anything. Nick.

15 Replies

Morning Nick,I've had a quick look on Google for this subject and have come up with the following on a site called Quartz, for starters on this subject.

" Unlike many other available vaccines, it’s not a live virus that has been weakened, a virus that has been killed, nor a signature viral protein that can dupe cells into producing protective antibodies. Instead, this vaccine relies on messenger RNA (mRNA for short), a type of genetic material that our cells can use as an instruction manual to kick off the process of building virus-busting antibodies"

Hope this helps.

May7 profile image
May7 in reply to May7

p.s. just remembered that one of my consultants who knows all about my case, was encouraging me to have the vaccine, and I told him I couldn't wait!

I can only support what May7 has said - I also have seen articles that NONE of the currently imminent vaccines is live. One could be said to be a live attenuated virus in that a virus that causes a common cold in chimpanzees has been manipulated so that it cannot infect humans and is then used a a vector to transport the business bit of the mRNA into the body. But that isn't the same at all.

The modified RNA vaccines aren't live. A lot of information here: who.int/publications/m/item...

The big question for those of us on biologics like Rituximab is whether or not the required T cell response will be elicited by the RNA vaccines even if given at, say, one month prior or three months post infusion.

There are other vaccines coming along that may be more effective for us: bbc.co.uk/news/health-55022288

I’ve also been told that none of the vaccines are live. Was also told that like the flu jab I should have it but may not have the required response to it due to previous rituximab. I have a telephone appointment with immunology in a couple of weeks so will check again when hopefully more is known. The vaccine that gooseflight has posted about is an interesting one. I have read that it will cost around £450 per dose. By the time it is ready it is possible that most of the population have been vaccinated (allowing for delays in both) so the powers that be maybe will decide against it. I’m sorry this causes a lot of confusion for you as it is opposite of what your doctor has told you.

I spoke to my consultant yesterday, he told me it was safe and to have it as soon as offered. Through my job I’ve also been able to speak to senior NHS colleagues who have also confirmed this. I’m hoping to get the first dose as early as next week. Totally confident

Are you on rituximab? Did your consultant/colleagues offer any insight as to the vaccine's effectiveness for the immunosuppressed? Thanks, Roy

There is also an antibody shot being developed which is more expensive, but could be an alternative but like most of the comments I’ve heard the vaccine is not live.

amms43 profile image
amms43 in reply to SCMW

I found an interesting article (ITV) on this. It sounds the answer for those on immunosuppressants. It is quite expensive, made by Astra Zeneca and in third level trials. I am going to ask my consultant at my next visit in a couple of weeks. It also has the benefit of being instantly effective unlike any of the vaccines.

Had my last cycle in March, he was very confident I’d experience no serious side effects

Thanks to you all it seems pretty conclusive to me, personally for me is the issue of Rituximab, I completed my last dose 2 weeks ago, it may be a time issue but good to know it's on the way or alternatives anyway. Please keep me posted if anyone is contacted or gets the jab. Nick

I had a telephone consultation on Monday with my rheumatologist who confirmed to me that either of the three vaccines for Covid which will soon be available, will all be safe for me to have.

gooseflight profile image
gooseflight in reply to poppet2

Obviously safety is important, what we really need though is some insight from an immunologist as to what level of protection we immunosuppressed are likely to get from a modified RNA vaccine or an antibody vaccine.

The antibody vaccine seems the most promising as it is developed for those who "do not have a working immune system".

Hi NickI like you was told that I wouldn't be able to have the vaccine in this initial roll out but have heard conflicting information since. I have decided just to wait to see what information emerges as more is learnt about it so can only hope that it will be able to be given to those on rituximab.

Thanks Jenny,I think waiting to see is our best bet. Let’s face it we have waited this long.

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