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Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis COVID-19 FAQs

  • What is the advice for the Omicron variant?

    The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVIadvises the following immediate measures within the COVID-19 vaccine programmes:

    1. Booster vaccination eligibility should be expanded to include all adults aged 18 years to 39 years.
    2. Booster vaccination should now be offered in order of descending age groups, with priority given to the vaccination of older adults and those in a COVID-19 at-risk group. Booster vaccination should not be given within 3 months of completion of the primary course.
    3. Severely immunosuppressed individuals who have completed their primary course (3 doses) should be offered a booster dose with a minimum of 3 months between the third primary and booster dose. Those who have not yet received their third dose may be given the third dose now to avoid further delay. A further booster dose can be given in 3 months, in line with the clinical advice on optimal timing.
    4. Both the Moderna (50 microgram) and Pfizer-BioNTech (30 microgram) vaccines should be used with equal preference in the COVID-19 booster programme. Both vaccines have been shown to substantially increase antibody levels when offered as a booster dose.

    Read full advice on the website

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  • What are the latest COVID-19 statistics?

    You can find all the data on the official UK Government website.

    The website includes the numbers of cases, deaths and tests. The site also includes graphs and cumulative data. There is also a breakdown for all four UK nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

     

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  • Where can I find the latest advice about COVID-19?

    Depending on where you live, the advice may differ. For the latest information visit:

    UK National Government

    Scotland

    Wales

    Northern Ireland

    World Health Organisation (WHO)

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  • What does COVID-19 stand for?

    It's an acronym for corona (CO) virus (VI) disease (D) 2019 - year of discovery (19)

     

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  • Is it recommended that patients with psoriasis should be vaccinated against COVID-19?

    Yes.  The expert guidance recommends that patients with psoriasis should be immunised against COVID-19 as soon as the vaccine is made available to them.

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  • Should I have the COVID-19 vaccine?

    The decision whether to have the vaccine or not, is a personal one.  You should consider all the available information and make a decision based on your own circumstances.  If you are unsure, you should discuss this with your own doctor. 

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  • When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    It is dependent on your age, health profile and other criterion. Use this calculator to estimate where you are in the queue to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the UK.

    Calculate when you may be offered the vaccine

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  • Will the vaccine make my skin condition worse?

    There is currently no evidence that the vaccine will make your psoriasis worse and no reason to think it would.  Whilst it is true that we do not yet have specific information about the COVID-19 vaccine and psoriasis, evidence from other vaccination programmes (e.g., the flu vaccine) does not suggest any detrimental effect. 

     

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  • There are several COVID-19 vaccines - is one vaccine more suitable than another for people who are on drugs to suppress the immune system?

    It is not yet known whether one vaccine is more suitable than another, for people who are on medication designed to suppress the immune system and it will be some time before we can give clear guidance on this.  In the meantime, the recommendation is that you should receive whatever vaccine you are offered, since delaying will leave you at risk from COVID-19.  

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  • Is it safe for me to have the COVID-19 vaccine if I am taking immunosuppressant medication?

    The short answer is - yes.  As described earlier, COVID-19 vaccines are non-live vaccines.  This means that they can generally be given quite safely to people receiving drugs such as methotrexate and biologic injections, that affect the immune system.  As research continues on COVID-19, doubtless more specific information regarding different medical conditions will become available. 

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  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective in people taking immunosuppressant medication?

    It is not yet known whether the vaccine will be as effective in patients on immunosuppressive medication, such as methotrexate and biologic injections. More research in this specific area is needed and will eventually become available. 

    However, given that there is no reason to think the vaccine will not be effective, the advice is that patients on psoriasis immunosuppressant medication should not delay being vaccinated against COVID-19.   

    If you are unsure, speak to your healthcare team.a

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  • Should I stop my medication if I decide to have the COVID-19 vaccine?

    In general - no.  Expert guidance says that patients may continue their oral or biologic psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis treatment without interruption, when receiving these immunizations.  As always, however, discuss this with your family doctor. 

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  • Is it safe to have the vaccine if I have already had a COVID-19 infection or a positive antibodies test result?

    The short answer is - yes. There is currently no evidence of any safety concerns from vaccinating people with a history of COVID-19 infection or with detectable COVID-19 antibodies

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  • Can I have the vaccine if I am taking steroids?

    Yes, it’s quite safe for you to have the vaccine while you are taking steroids and there is no reason to delay vaccination.  There is a theoretical risk that steroid medication (tablets and injections) could weaken your response to the vaccine, so it would be prudent to follow the usual shielding and social-distancing advice after you have had it.  Steroid creams or eye drops will not affect your response to the vaccine. 

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  • Is it safe to have the vaccine during pregnancy

    The COVID-19 vaccines have not been specifically evaluated for use in pregnancy, but there is nothing to suggest that they are dangerous or harmful in this context.  The latest advice is that COVID-19 vaccines should only be considered for pregnant women when their risk of exposure to the virus is high and cannot be avoided, or if the woman has underlying conditions that place her at a high risk of complications of COVID-19.  In other words, vaccination in pregnancy should only be considered where the potential benefits clearly outweigh the risks. 

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  • Can I have the vaccine if I am about to have surgery?

    Although there is no specific information available regarding COVID-19 vaccination and surgery, general guidelines recommend that individuals should not have major surgery and vaccines within one week of each other.

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  • What are risks of the COVID-19 vaccines and blood clots?

    At the time of writing (8 April 2021) the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued new advice*, concluding there is a possible link between AstraZenica COVID-19 vaccine and extremely rare forms of blood clots on the brain. 

    The evidence suggests that these clots are more likely to occur in younger adults (under 30 years) and in the setting of certain blood abnormalities.  For this reason, those in this younger age-group, should be offered an alternative to the AstraZenica vaccine if available. 

    However, it is very important to understand how small the risk of this complication is: Around 1 in a million.  That's roughly the same risk as being murdered in the next month or - if you get into a car and drive for 250 miles - the risk of you dying in a road accident on that journey.

    *Correct on 9 April 2021, when this FAQ was updated

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  • Do patients with psoriasis have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19?

    The short answer is yes. A recent study (May 2021) in a large number of psoriasis patients found that they were 18% more likely to develop COVID-19 infection when compared with the general population.  The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but it suggests that psoriasis patients should be afforded priority for vaccination.  Read the blog.  

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  • Will COVID-19 vaccination make my psoriatic arthritis worse?

    There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will cause a flare-up of psoriatic arthritis or psoriasis.

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  • Is it safe to have a COVID-19 vaccine, if I am taking Otezla (apremilast)?

    Based on the scientific evidence to date, the answer is yes.

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  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective in people taking immunosuppressant medication?

    It is not yet known for certain whether the vaccine will be as effective in patients on immunosuppressant medication, such as methotrexate, steroids and/or biologic agents.

    A recent study does suggest that there could be a reduced immune response in psoriatic patients taking immunosuppressant drugs, though the study in question was based on only 133 patients and has not been reviewed by other experts.

    Nevertheless, it is reassuring to note that most patients were still able to mount an effective antibody response.

    Moreover, the fact that the response to vaccination may not be quite as strong in immunosuppressed patients, means it is even more important for them to undergo vaccination as soon as possible.

    Reference: Glucocorticoids and B Cell Depleting Agents Substantially Impair Immunogenicity of mRNA Vaccines to SARS-CoV-2. Published on the website of MedRxiv

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  • What are the latest COVID-19 statistics?

    You can find all the data on the official UK Government website.

    The website includes the numbers of cases, deaths and tests. The site also includes graphs and cumulative data. There is also a breakdown for all four UK nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

     

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