Two out of three people with lupus (64%) are willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine if it is free and proven safe by scientists according to the results of a study conducted by the Lupus Research Federation (LRA). However, it is important to remember that 24% say they should not have the vaccine while 22% are unsure.
Carried out 19 October – 17 November, the national survey included 703 people with lupus and 63 family members and friends. Respondents represented all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Those who receive the vaccine are just as motivated by wanting to protect others (97%) from the virus as they are about protecting themselves (98%). This finding is particularly poignant because the lupus population is thought to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 because their immune systems are weakened by the disease and many of its treatments.
Other factors that may affect all respondents with lupus in deciding whether to include the vaccine include information on the safety of the vaccine specifically for people with lupus. and a recommendation from their healthcare provider. As would be expected, a higher proportion of those who are routinely receiving the flu vaccine are more likely to report receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
While many respondents are willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, only half of the respondents surveyed have confidence in the process used to test their safety and effectiveness. Of those who say they should not be vaccinated, 90% are worried about side effects and 86% are afraid of lupus flare. In open – ended questions, many expressed similar concerns because they believe that safety has not been demonstrated over a sufficiently long period of time. Vaccination balance of the vaccine is also questioned by 59% of respondents with lupus and 43% of those without lupus.
Opinions vary according to race / ethnicity
- Black or African Americans with lupus are less likely to report receiving the COVID-19 vaccine (34%) against 50% of Black / African Americans in the general population.
- Hispanics / Latinos are more likely (34%) to say they are unsure about getting the vaccine.
- Reliance in safety and effectiveness testing varies by race and ethnicity and the Blacks (75%) are the most confident.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just granted emergency use approval to Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for their COVID-19 vaccine using a new technology, mRNA. With this specification, the FDA may “allow the use of unauthorized medical products or non-approved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to detect, treat, or prevent serious diseases or conditions that are threatens life from chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear hazards of producers when appropriate, agreed and unavailable options are not available. “
We are very pleased to see these vaccines. The experts on our Scientific Advisory Board have reviewed the data published so far, and the vaccines do not appear to be of particular concern to people with lupus. However, whether this or any vaccine can be taken or a decision made that needs to be made between the patient and their healthcare provider. “
Kenneth M. Farber, President of LRA
The LRA is keeping pace with the growing vaccine status. To learn more about the different types of technologies used to develop these vaccines, check out this video of LRA President & CEO Kenneth Farber. Also, this Q&A provides answers to common questions we hear about vaccines among COVID-19 pandemics.
Facts of lupus
Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. More than 90% of people with lupus are women; lupus usually occurs during the 15-45 years of childbirth. People of African American, Hispanic, Indian American and Asian descent are two to three times more at risk than White Americans. In lupus, the immune system, which is designed to protect against infection, produces antibodies that can attack any part of the body including the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints.