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Dear Cure JM Families,

We have received many questions from our families on whether their child with JM should receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines recently granted emergency authorization from the FDA. Cure JM Foundation and our Medical Advisory Board have been monitoring the safety data of the vaccines and reviewing expert information and guidance relevant to our families.

We have compiled a series of questions and answers from trusted sources to inform your choices about the COVID-19 vaccines. The following questions and answers are curated from trusted sources, including the Arthritis Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control, the European League Against Rheumatism, and the Lupus Foundation. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider regarding individual medical decisions.

Please note that this information is based on what we know now, so please check-in daily with reputable sources such as the CDC, your state and local public health agencies, and your healthcare provider. We will update you as soon as more relevant information becomes available.

Best wishes for this new year. Please stay safe, and let’s all look forward to a better year ahead.

Jim
Jim Minow
Executive Director

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Which vaccines are approved?

A. Two COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna, Inc. and Pfizer/BioNTech) are approved by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for use in the U.S. (1)

Q. Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

A. No. It is not possible to get COVID-19 from any of the vaccines that have been approved or are currently being reviewed by the FDA. (2)

Q. Does the vaccine contain live virus?

A. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development or in use in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. (3)

Q. When and where can I get the vaccine?

A. When you’ll be able to get vaccinated will be determined in part by where you live.

State governments will determine how to distribute the vaccine.

Because the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be limited at first, the CDC has recommended that vaccines initially be allocated to healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. States will develop guidelines that will likely mirror CDC guidelines on how to allocate the vaccine to the highest risk population first. As the availability of the vaccine increases, recommendations will expand to include more groups, according to the CDC. Those who are most vulnerable to infection and severe outcomes, such as essential workers, patients with high-risk medical conditions, will likely be prioritized to receive the vaccine next.

According to the CDC, there are two groups that fall within the high-risk medical condition category: those who are at increased risk and those who might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. People who are immunocompromised from the use of corticosteroid or other immune-weakening medicines fall into the second group.

Many experts, including Anthony Fauci, MD, expect that vaccines will be more readily available by the spring. (4)

You can read more about the CDC’s vaccine rollout recommendations here. (5)

Q. Is the vaccine safe for those with autoimmune conditions?

A. According to the CDC, those with weakened immune systems may receive a COVID-19 vaccine provided they have not had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. However, they should be aware of the limited safety data. (6)

Again, please consult with your healthcare provider about what is right for your family.

Q. Is the vaccine approved for children?

A. The FDA approved the Pfizer/BioNTech for those 16 years and older and the Moderna, Inc. vaccine for those 18 years and older. (7)

Q. Do my treatments increase the risk of worse disease?

A. Most of the drugs used in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (of which Juvenile Myositis is a part of) have not been associated with worse disease. To date, the only treatments that have been shown to be associated with a worse COVID-19 outcome are using more than 10 mg glucocorticoids daily or being treated with rituximab. (8)

Again, please consult with your healthcare provider about questions that you have about the vaccine and your individual medication and treatment history.

Q. What about side effects?

A. It is rather early for a definite answer, but so far, the vaccines that are tested are remarkably safe, comparable with those we know from the flu vaccination. (9)

Q. After I have received the vaccine, can I stop wearing a mask and go back to my normal activities?

A. Unfortunately, we may not be able to go “back to normal” for some time. The vaccine is important, but even after both doses, it will take several weeks to be fully effective. It will also take time for enough people to get vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19 in your community.

Even after you have received the vaccine, it is crucial that you continue to follow these recommendations to protect yourself and your family:

  • Stay at home as much as you can. Avoid high-risk activities such as travel, indoor gatherings with people outside of your household, and large gatherings even if they are outdoors.
  • When you do go out, wear a mask, avoid crowds, wash your hands often, and sanitize surfaces.
  • Stay in touch with your healthcare team and continue to follow your treatment plan.
  • Take care of your mental and emotional health. (10)

Here are more resources on taking care of your mental and emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q. If I have already had COVID-19 (the illness), will I need the vaccine?

A. According to the CDC, early evidence suggests that natural immunity (the immunity that someone gains from having an illness and getting better) may not last very long in the case of COVID-19. More studies are underway in an effort to understand this better.

In general, you should get the vaccine even if you have already had COVID-19. However, you may need to wait for some time after recovering from the virus before taking the vaccine. Please talk to your doctor about when you should get the vaccine if you have already had COVID-19. (11)

Q. Can you tell me more about the new vaccines and their effectiveness and safety?

A. Dr. Rohit Aggarwal, Chair of the Medical Advisory Board of The Myositis Association, has an excellent, two-part video series on the COVID-19 vaccine in autoimmune disease: Part 1, Part 2.


References

  1. www.arthritis.org/ health-wellness/ about-arthritis/related-conditions/other-diseases/covid-19-faqs-medication-treatment-and-vaccines
  2. www.lupus.org/resources/ covid19-vaccine-and-lupus
  3. www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/ vaccine-benefits/facts.html
  4. www.arthritis.org/ health-wellness/ about-arthritis/related-conditions/other-diseases/covid-19-faqs-medication-treatment-and-vaccines
  5. www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/ 2019-ncov/vaccines/ recommendations.html
  6. www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/ recommendations/ underlying-conditions.html
  7. www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/ recommendations-process.html
  8. www.eular.org/eular_ sars_ cov_2_ vaccination_rmd_patients.cfm
  9. www.eular.org/eular_ sars_ cov_2_ vaccination_rmd_patients.cfm
  10. www.lupus.org/ resources/covid19-vaccine-and-lupus
  11. www.lupus.org/ resources/covid19-vaccine-and-lupus

Disclaimer:  Cure JM Foundation presents this information for reference purposes only and not as medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider and your local health authorities to make individual decisions.