COVID-19 Evidence Alerts
from McMaster PLUSTM

Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)

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Primary Prevention Santosa A, Xu C, Arkachaisri T, et al. Recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination in people with rheumatic disease: Developed by the Singapore Chapter of Rheumatologists. Int J Rheum Dis. 2021 Jun;24(6):746-757. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.14107. Epub 2021 May 10.

AIM: People with rheumatic diseases (PRD) remain vulnerable in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. We formulated recommendations to meet the urgent need for a consensus for vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in PRD.

METHODS: Systematic literature reviews were performed to evaluate: (a) outcomes in PRD with COVID-19; (b) efficacy, immunogenicity and safety of COVID-19 vaccination; and (c) published guidelines/recommendations for non-live, non-COVID-19 vaccinations in PRD. Recommendations were formulated based on the evidence and expert opinion according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation methodology.

RESULTS: The consensus comprises 2 overarching principles and 7 recommendations. Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in PRD should be aligned with prevailing national policy and should be individualized through shared decision between the healthcare provider and patient. We strongly recommend that eligible PRD and household contacts be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. We conditionally recommended that the COVID-19 vaccine be administered during quiescent disease if possible. Immunomodulatory drugs, other than rituximab, can be continued alongside vaccination. We conditionally recommend that the COVID-19 vaccine be administered prior to commencing rituximab if possible. For patients on rituximab, the vaccine should be administered a minimum of 6 months after the last dose and/or 4 weeks prior to the next dose of rituximab. Post-vaccination antibody titers against SARS-CoV-2 need not be measured. Any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines may be used, with no particular preference.

CONCLUSION: These recommendations provide guidance for COVID-19 vaccination in PRD. Most recommendations in this consensus are conditional, reflecting a lack of evidence or low-level evidence.

Discipline / Specialty Area Score
Infectious Disease
Public Health
Comments from MORE raters

Infectious Disease rater

This is also useful for Rheumatologists and is surpassed by the relative ACR guidelines.

Infectious Disease rater

This is an excellent review and prescription for SARS-CoV-2 immunization in people with rheumatic disease. It is particularly well thought through regarding recommendations for people on immunomodulating drugs.

Public Health rater

The topic is extremely timely given COVID-19 vaccine rollout across the globe. First, recommendations to adhere to national policy is not very helpful for anyone outside of Singapore and recommendations applicable to all nations are needed.

Rheumatology rater

Useful information.