Immune Response and Disease Flares Low in SLE Patients Following COVID Vaccination

August 17, 2021

Recently, the results of a study focusing on patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 was published, making it the first study of its kind. The 90 SLE patients participating in the study were recruited from the NYU Lupus Cohort and were compared against a group of 20 healthy controls with no known rheumatological diseases. Controls had only received the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, whereas SLE patients received all three vaccines in the U.S., which includes the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Overall, nearly 30% of SLE patients had a lower immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine than the control group. The low levels of response to the vaccine were likely associated with taking non-antimalarial immunosuppressant medications.

In addition to immune response following vaccination, disease flares were also assessed in the study. Flares were low post-vaccination, with 11.4% of patients reporting a mild to moderate flare, and 1.3% having a severe flare.