Conference Coverage

Lupus may confer higher risk of death from COVID-19


 

Got lupus? ‘Get vaccinated’

“The data we have are in nonvaccinated patients,” Dr. Bonfá said. “We didn’t have vaccines in 2020.”

Whether being vaccinated might make a different to the risks found in this study is an “interesting question,” and one that may be examined in the future.

Certainly, other work Dr. Bonfá has been involved in seems to point to a likely benefit of vaccination in patients with autoimmune diseases in terms of reducing mortality from COVID-19, even when rates of infection may be on the rise.

“There’s considerable vaccine hesitancy in SLE patients,” Chi-Chiu Mok, MD, of Tuen Mun Hospital in Hong Kong, observed in a separate presentation at the congress.

This may be for several reasons, such as worry that their disease may flare or the vaccine might compromise their drug treatment or result in uncommon complications.

However, “we should encourage our SLE patients to receive COVID-19 vaccination at a time of clinical remission or low disease activity state,” Dr. Mok advised.

“Physical distancing, protective masks, and personal hygiene [measures]” should also continue.

The bottom line for those with SLE is to get vaccinated, stressed Sandra Navarra, MD, of the University of Santo Tomas Hospital in Manila, the Philippines, during the discussion.

“There’s still so much out there that we do not know about,” she said. “Just get yourself vaccinated.”

The study had no outside funding. Dr. Bonfá, Dr. Mok, and Dr. Navarra reported no relevant financial relationships.

A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.

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