18:41 PM

Vaccine Hesitancy: Wariness Is Rare, But There’s a Wider Worry About COVID Vaccines’ Efficacy in Some Populations

The Rheumatologist interviews experts including HSS rheumatologist Iris Navarro Millan, MD, who address the concerns and positioning of patients with rheumatic diseases about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Dr. Navarro-Millan, most of her patients with rheumatic diseases have been eager to be vaccinated, however she sees more vaccine hesitancy among new patients with lingering COVID-19 symptoms that mimic post-infectious rheumatic disease. “We are finding that getting a COVID vaccine improves long-COVID symptoms,” said Dr. Navarro-Millan.

When Dr. Navarro-Millan talks with vaccine-hesitant patients, she explains the vaccine provides peace of mind. Patients can safely visit their family and friends again, she says, framing the conversation in personal terms rather than stressing efficacy data. “I tell my patients, ‘That is what I want for you—that human connection that we have all been missing,’” she cited. “Patients just want to have a connection with a real person when they talk to their doctor. They don’t want to talk about statistics.”

When Dr. Navarro-Millan recently hosted a vaccine education webinar in both English and Spanish, patients asked if they would have a lesser response to the COVID-19 vaccine because of their rheumatic disease therapies. She explained that for patients on B cell therapies, they may have a lesser response and could require a booster vaccine dose in the future to achieve optimal protection against COVID-19.

Read the full article at the-rheumatologist.org.