COVID vaccine hesitancy in psoriasis patients not necessary, experts say

A study reviewed social media posts of psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis patients in the US and four European countries to learn the top reasons for COVID vaccine hesitancy among those who are hesitant and using biologics to treat their psoriatic disease. The most commonly cited concerns, it turns out, have been answered with reasonably-strong evidence by medical experts looking at these questions.

Among those cited most often, according to The Medical Progress, were:

. . . potential side effects post-vaccination, effect on their autoimmune conditions and lack of trial data. Moreover, patients had no information on the interaction of the COVID-19 vaccine with biologic therapy and did not know what effect it had in immuno-compromised patients.

These are all good issues to assess, a demonstration of the active, educated role people with psoriatic disease bring to their medical decisions. In this case, the evidence points to COVID vaccination for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis patients.

Side effects from the vaccines have been limited, and for the vast majority of people, the dangers of COVID – including potential hospitalization and death – outweigh the small risk of a significant bad outcome from the vaccine.

Of course, there is no long-term (five or more years) safety data on the vaccines, just as there is no data on the long-term effects following a severe case of COVID. The best answer on this issue we have heard – remember, we at Psoriasis Cure Now are patients, not physicians – is that vaccines clear the system quickly, and historically, adverse events have not typically emerged years after a vaccine. We do know that no new dangers have arisen to date in those early clinical trial patients, who received their COVID vaccinations now more than a year ago.

While a few patients have reportedly had psoriasis flares an average of about 10 days after the vaccine, the numbers have been very small, and illness also can trigger a flare, making a case of COVID a potential trigger as well.

Psoriasis experts have urged most patients, after discussions with their health care practitioner, to continue taking their psoriasis treatments during this COVID pandemic, unless they develop COVID or are in close proximity to someone with COVID, in which case they should contact their physician for guidance. (An exception is steroids like prednisone, which should be avoided or minimized, if possible, as they may increase the risk of bad incomes if being used at the time of COVID infection. [Confusingly, steroids might nevertheless be prescribed as a useful COVID treatment for patients requiring oxygen therapy.])

Evidence to date strongly suggests that vaccination is as safe for those with psoriatic disease as those without it, regardless of your psoriasis treatment(s).

Finally, population studies show that people with psoriatic disease have a higher rate of serious comorbidities (including obesity, diabetes, a history of smoking; or significant kidney, liver, heart, or lung disease) than the general public. While older age (particularly 65+) is the biggest factor that increases one’s risk for a case of COVID to become severe or dangerous, these other ailments also increase the risk of a severe case of COVID. This makes vaccination for many psoriasis patients even more important.

In sum, while vaccine hesitancy is certainly an understandable reaction to the COVID pandemic and record-fast creation of COVID vaccines, the vast amount of research being conducted worldwide on these questions has given a broad range of experts the confidence to conclude that adult psoriatic disease patients eligible for the COVID vaccine should get both the first round of vaccination (one or two shots depending on the vaccine), as well as a booster shot, from one to six months later (ask your doctor when to schedule your booster).

Your safest strategy, they say, is to get vaccinated.

[Last updated 10-25-2021]