May 1, 2021
The United States is in the midst of the biggest, fastest, most important vaccination campaign ever undertaken in our nation’s history. As of April 2021, more than 180 million doses have been given—with over 2.5 million doses being administered every day.
Over the past year, the development of vaccines—and getting them in people’s arms—has become a global concern. Here, COVID-19-related mortality toll is staggering, with tremendous suffering continuing throughout the US.
So, it is no small wonder that getting vaccinated is the topic on everyone’s mind these days, including people in our lupus community. But the concerns of people with lupus are more complicated than just navigating a path to vaccination.
Those living with lupus, as well as their families, need answers to a few key questions: Are the COVID-19 vaccines recommended for people with lupus? … Which one should I take? … Will I experience more severe side effects? … Are the new vaccines safe for those of us in the lupus community?
The Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) listens
As the world’s largest private funder of lupus research, we take the concerns of people with lupus very seriously. That’s why we have taken a proactive stance in evaluating research and communicating the most up-to-date health and safety information since the pandemic erupted one year ago. Right now, vaccine safety is one of our major focuses.
Answering the Core Question: Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with lupus?
The answer is yes, almost all rheumatologists recommend people to vaccinate as soon as possible. It’s important to understand that most of new COVID-19 vaccines rely on recently developed technologies. Over the long run we want to know which of these technologies might be most appropriate for lupus patients. To answer that question, the LRA has taken two important steps. First, we recently gathered experts in vaccinology, immunology, rheumatology, and representatives from the National Institutes of Health and our own Research Committee and Scientific Advisory Board.
These experts emphasized they had not found any reasons why the emerging vaccines should not be safe for lupus patients. At the same time, the group underscored the urgent need to generate clinical and research data on Covid-19 vaccine response in lupus patients.
Because the safety of the lupus community is paramount to the LRA, this research initiative will evaluate the immune responses to various types of COVID-19 vaccines among people with lupus—as they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency authorization.
Empowering Our Community
In many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to lupus and the broader need to understand the nature of a hyper-activated immune system. At this crucial juncture, so much can be learned, not only by our research, but from those living with lupus.
This was the reason behind the launch of our campaign called Learn from Lupus to share what the lupus community, researchers, and the LRA can teach the rest of the world in this COVID-19 reality, and beyond.
The LRA is committed to helping keep our community safe—and informed on every front that safeguards the lives of people with lupus.