Data from 1,500 Rheumatic Disease Patients Shows Vaccine is Well Tolerated

June 7, 2021

Data recently sourced from the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) shows that the COVID-19 vaccine is well tolerated amongst patients with rheumatic disease. The registry was launched on February 5, 2021, and includes reports from 28 countries across Europe. 1,519 patients were reported to the registry as of April 27, with close to two-thirds being from women. To learn why women experience side effects from vaccines more often than men, check out our article. 

“The majority (91%) had inflammatory RMDs [rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases]. Inflammatory joint diseases accounted for 51% of cases, connective tissue diseases 19%, vasculitis 16%, other immune-mediated inflammatory diseases 4%, and non-inflammatory/mechanical RMDs 9%.” Reports of side effects were submitted most often from patients living with these common diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and axial spondyloarthritis.

Potential vaccine side effects were reported by 31% of patients included in the registry, while disease flares – to include arthritis, joint pain, cutaneous flare, and fatigue – occurred in 5% of patients. 1.2% were labeled as severe flares. Mild symptoms included fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and most commonly, pain at the injection site. 

Overall, experts are reassured by these safety profiles, as the majority of adverse events were similar to the general population, short-term and mild in nature.