gloved hands holding vaccination syringe

Should People with Psoriasis Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

By Claire Gillespie
December 17, 2020

You’ve likely heard that the first Americans have received the COVID-19 vaccine, and it will be made available to everybody over the coming months. And you might be wondering if the vaccine is safe for you, or if it will interfere with your psoriatic treatment. Here’s what we know so far.

There are still some unknowns when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine and psoriatic disease, since the initial clinical trials focused on healthy adults who didn’t have medical conditions or medications that could affect the results. But there’s enough data that the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) COVID-19 task force issued new guidance statements regarding the new vaccine on December 14.

According to the statements, the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people with psoriatic disease—so long as they don’t have any contraindications to vaccines themselves.

“The new mRNA vaccines are an astonishingly 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 and are extremely safe,” said Joel Gelfand, M.D., professor of dermatology and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and co-chair of the NPF COVID-19 task force, in a statement. “We recommend that patients with psoriatic disease get the vaccine as soon as it is available to them. Patients may continue their oral and biologic psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis treatment without interruption when receiving these immunizations.”

If you’re not sure whether you should get the vaccine because of any other health conditions you have or other medications you’re taking, ask your doctor for advice.

NPF guidance statements also address whether psoriatic disease can have an impact on COVID-19 infection. Research has found that people with other chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension, are at a higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness and death. However, existing data generally suggests that people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis have similar rates of COVID-19 outcomes as the general population.

It’s important to be aware that the likelihood of poor outcomes from COVID-19 is driven by risk factors such as older age and comorbidities such as chronic heart, lung, or kidney disease and metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. And people with psoriatic disease are more prone to these comorbidities, particularly when they have severe psoriatic disease.

And when it comes to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis treatments, there’s nothing to suggest that these increase the risk of COVID-19 infection, or lead to worse outcomes when infected. If you have any concerns about whether or not you should be continuing your current treatment during the pandemic, talk those over with your doctor.

Vaccine or no vaccine, COVID-19 is still spreading rapidly throughout the country. So it’s important to keep following the CDC’s guidelines to protect yourself and others: wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in public, clean and disinfect surfaces regularly, and maintain six feet of distance between yourself and people from outside your household.

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