Risk of Glomerular Disease Relapse Following COVID-19 Vaccination

December 5, 2022

Authors of a recent study aimed to determine the risk of glomerular disease relapse following COVID-19 vaccination. Researchers looked at a group of 1,105 people living in Canada suffering from biopsy-confirmed glomerular disease, including membranous nephropathy, IgA nephropathy, Lupus Nephritis, ANCA Glomerulonephritis, and C3 Glomerulonephritis

Vaccines most commonly used among patients were Pfizer (67%) and Moderna (30%), and researchers communicated with patients for 281 days, during which 92% of patients received at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 89% received two or three doses. Within that time, 12.1% of patients experienced a relapse, which was confirmed via blood and urine tests. “Proteinuria increased at the time of relapse in all types of glomerular disease.” Among patients who received at least two vaccine doses, 87% received two doses of the same type, 10% received a mixed regimen, and 3% received AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine with either Moderna or Pfizer.

The authors concluded that there was no association between the first dose of the vaccine and disease flare. While receiving subsequent (second and third) doses increased the risk of relapse, the absolute risk was low (between 1% to 5%), depending on the disease type. There was no association between the risk of relapse and the type of COVID-19 vaccine.

Among the 1,105 patients in the study, 24 experienced a vaccine-associated relapse within 30 days post-vaccination. Only four patients needed a change in immunosuppression or a repeat kidney biopsy, suggesting that symptoms associated with relapse were mild for the majority of patients.