17 May 2021
Covid-19 vaccinations and IBD
The covid vaccination roll-out has commenced in Australia. This is a staged roll-out based on a strict eligibility criterion that continues to be opened up as vaccination targets are reached.
Currently there are 2 vaccinations that have received TGA approval for use within Australia:
- Pfizer COMIRNARTY mRNA vaccination
- 2 doses administered 3 weeks apart
- Prevents symptomatic infection in 95% of patients
- Approved for individuals > 16 years of age
- Astrazeneca viral vector vaccination
- 2 doses administered 12 weeks apart
- Prevents symptomatic infection in 82% of patients
- Approved for individuals > 18 years of age but currently not recommended for individuals < 50 due to rare risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopaenia syndrome
- The risk is significantly less in patients > 50 hence this should be administered when eligible
- In addition, treatments for this rare, immune-mediated complication are proving to be highly successful with low rates of morbidity and mortality
Covid-19 vaccination is recommended in all individuals and are considered safe and effective in IBD. Evidence is continuing to evolve regarding effectiveness of these medications in patients receiving IBD therapy. Please discuss these issues further with your specialist if you have concerns OR if you are on corticosteroids (prednisolone dose > 10mg) or multiple immunosuppressive medications.
Other circumstances that should be discussed with your GP or specialist include:
- Current or planning pregnancy
- History of allergic reactions to medications – particularly anaphylaxis
- History of thrombosis
Please maintain good hand hygiene, follow social distancing guidelines and keep up to date with the Covid-19 restrictions as mandated by your state government.
Contributed by Dr Arvind Rajagopalan.