Flares in autoimmune rheumatic diseases in the post-COVID-19 vaccination period-a cross-sequential study based on COVAD surveys.

Citation:
Jagtap, K., R. Naveen, J. Day, P. Sen, B. Vaidya, A. Nune, E. Nikiphorou, A. L. Tan, V. Agarwal, S. Saha, et al., "Flares in autoimmune rheumatic diseases in the post-COVID-19 vaccination period-a cross-sequential study based on COVAD surveys.", Rheumatology (Oxford, England), vol. 62, issue 12, pp. 3838-3848, 2023.

Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: Flares of autoimmune rheumatic diseases (AIRDs) following COVID-19 vaccination are a particular concern in vaccine-hesitant individuals. Therefore, we investigated the incidence, predictors and patterns of flares following vaccination in individuals living with AIRDs, using global COVID-19 Vaccination in Autoimmune Diseases (COVAD) surveys.

METHODS: The COVAD surveys were used to extract data on flare demographics, comorbidities, COVID-19 history, and vaccination details for patients with AIRDs. Flares following vaccination were identified as patient-reported (a), increased immunosuppression (b), clinical exacerbations (c) and worsening of PROMIS scores (d). We studied flare characteristics and used regression models to differentiate flares among various AIRDs.

RESULTS: Of 15 165 total responses, the incidence of flares in 3453 patients with AIRDs was 11.3%, 14.8%, 9.5% and 26.7% by definitions a-d, respectively. There was moderate agreement between patient-reported and immunosuppression-defined flares (K = 0.403, P = 0.022). Arthritis (61.6%) and fatigue (58.8%) were the most commonly reported symptoms. Self-reported flares were associated with higher comorbidities (P = 0.013), mental health disorders (MHDs) (P < 0.001) and autoimmune disease multimorbidity (AIDm) (P < 0.001).In regression analysis, the presence of AIDm [odds ratio (OR) = 1.4; 95% CI: 1.1, 1.7; P = 0.003), or a MHD (OR = 1.7; 95% CI: 1.1, 2.6; P = 0.007), or being a Moderna vaccine recipient (OR = 1.5; 95% CI: 1.09, 2.2; P = 0.014) were predictors of flares. Use of MMF (OR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.3, 0.8; P = 0.009) and glucocorticoids (OR = 0.6; 95% CI: 0.5, 0.8; P = 0.003) were protective.A higher frequency of patients with AIRDs reported overall active disease post-vaccination compared with before vaccination (OR = 1.3; 95% CI: 1.1, 1.5; P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Flares occur in nearly 1 in 10 individuals with AIRDs after COVID vaccination; people with comorbidities (especially AIDm), MHDs and those receiving the Moderna vaccine are particularly vulnerable. Future avenues include exploring flare profiles and optimizing vaccine strategies for this group.

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