Coronavirus Response and Updates
COVID-19 Vaccination Facts
The approval of Covid-19 vaccines is very good news. We understand, however that you probably have questions or concerns about the vaccine, its safety, and its eventual availability. While we wait for additional information, the clinicians at RAB put together these COVID-19 Vaccination Facts:
As of 3rd week of December, two vaccinations have been approved (Pfizer and Moderna). Several other vaccines are currently completing trials and hopefully the data will support their approval in upcoming weeks. There will be several platforms for these vaccines but the first two use mRNA technology. All of the vaccines generate an immune response to enable resistance when exposed to the actual Covid virus. No studies have or are using live virus.
Both Pfizer and Moderna studies enrolled 30,000 participants with an efficacy rate around 95%. Participants included all adult age groups and included people with chronic diseases. Further plans include additional studies on people who are chronically immunosuppressed and with chronic autoimmune diseases.
Although there are no formal guidelines concerning management of immunomodulating medications while receiving the vaccinations, most rheumatologists recommend continuing the medications.
Some vaccine recipients have experienced side effects following the injections, but these tend to be mild including soreness in the injection site, low grade fevers, fatigue, and muscle or joint pain. However, the benefit of preventing Covid-19 infections far outweighs the risk of side effects of the vaccine.
People who have already had a Covid-19 infection should also receive one of the vaccines since they most likely will only have protective antibodies for several months.
At this point, there are no specific reasons that patients with rheumatic illnesses should not receive vaccination against Covid-19.
What is Herd Immunity with these vaccines? When about 70% of the population receives a vaccine, it becomes much more difficult for the virus to spread. The hope is that this figure will be reached for Covid-19 for additional significant protection as the vaccine becomes more widely available.
For additional up to date information, we recommend using the following sources….
To Patients at Rheumatology Associates of Baltimore:
Why do we take social distancing so seriously? The attached 3-D demonstration from the New York Times helps to demonstrate why. Click here to check it out.
Recently the Governor announced a relaxation of the stay at home order. This does NOT mean that we are ready to open our office to in-person appointments. Please do not arrive to the office. For the safety of our patients, staff and physicians, we will continue to offer our clinical visits only through telehealth. RAB is continuously monitoring the COVID situation and is actively engaging in discussion about how to safely open the office for in-office patient visits. By keeping everyone's exposure to a minimum, we are contributing to the reduction of the spread of the virus, which is still active in the State.
We have been monitoring the recent events concerning the spread of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) and have been following multiple reliable agencies including the CDC and Maryland State Department of Health. We intend to keep our patients updated with information as we obtain it to keep everyone apprised of the changing picture.
Our advice to all patients is to contact their primary care physician if you start feeling unusually ill. We are available to you as well so please feel free to contact us and we will try to advise you through our staff, including medical assistants, nurse practitioners, and physicians. For those individuals who are taking biologic medications or are immunosupressed, it is recommended that you avoid any airplane travel and avoid large crowds.
Please do not come to the office if you are feeling unwell, especially if you have symptoms of fevers, cough or shortness of breath. Upon arriving at the office, you may be asked several additional questions upon check-in concerning your health and history of recent infections. We will attempt to help each patient based on each persons's circumstances. We will continue to monitor both telephone calls and the patient portal concerning questions. Expect to receive further communication through the patient portal.
Lastly, if people want to obtain more information from websites, these tend to be helpful and are updated regularly:
Thank you for you your patience as we work through this trying time.
The Clinicians and Staff of Rheumatology Associates of Baltimore