Coronavirus: Weathering the Storm Together

Fifteen months have passed since the COVID-19 global pandemic crisis changed our lives forever. We have weathered the worst of the storm together, but we still face many issues, and we still need more information to go safely forward as a patient community.

Key questions such as vaccine efficacy for immune-compromised patients, or if mask wearing is still necessary as restrictions loosen worldwide are asked every day as we enter a new phase in this health crisis.

The VF is committed to bringing you the latest and most reliable information about these issues so you can make the best decisions. We stand in solidarity with everyone affected by the pandemic. We are concerned for all of our patients, families, friends, and co-workers and for the many dedicated medical professionals caring for patients impacted by the disease. We’re actively updating our website, and talking with our vasculitis experts.

Check out our new COVID-19 Vaccine and Antibody section below. We share online resources addressing this critical issue.

June 2021 Update: Addressing the issue of antibodies and COVID-19 Vaccines

Currently one of the most pressing questions being asked by patients is whether the COVID-19 vaccines are producing antibodies that offer protection from the virus. The concern is whether the medications patients are taking to treat their vasculitis could also reduce or inhibit the development of these antibodies.

It’s a good question without any satisfactory, evidence-based answers at this time. However, researchers are intensely studying this issue and the VF will share links to these resources on this page.

Online Resources: Vaccine Efficacy in Immune Compromised Patients

Quote From Ken Warrington, MD, Chair in the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

“This is an important topic, but not well understood at this point.
We know that immune suppressant medications can lower the response to the vaccine, and this depends on individual specific factors as well as specific medications and dosage.  Preliminary data suggests that glucocorticoids and B-cell depleting agents have the strongest effect in reducing antibody response to the vaccine, although other immunosuppressive agents can also reduce response to vaccination.

The antibody test is only measuring 1 aspect of the immune response to the vaccine, so even if negative, it is possible that the vaccinated individual still has some immunity to the COVID virus.  At this point, we do not have a good measure of ‘how much’ immunity a person has to the vaccine, and we do note know how long that immunity will last.

I know this generates uncertainty and anxiety among patients (and providers).  The immune response to vaccination is a big topic of ongoing research, keeping in mind that for example we still do not have a perfect way of measuring the response to other vaccines.  The global research Community is also trying to educate itself, and we are all patiently awaiting more information.”

Bottom line, the safest route is for patients to continue to wear a mask and avoid high risk situations of contracting the virus.”

Vasculitis Experts Answer Your Questions

Monday, December 14, 2020 @ 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
COVID-19: A Year-End Update

In our fourth and final COVID webinar for 2020, Dr. Anisha Dua, Dr. Alex Villa-Forte, and Dr. Kevin Byram provide an update about the COVID-19 health crisis. They discuss the latest information available concerning vaccinations, and treatments.

Recorded October 19, 2020
COVID-19 Update

In this third webinar in our series about the COVID-19 health crisis we tackle some of the latest questions that patients with vasculitis are asking our medical professionals.

Recorded September 9, 2020
Vasculitis and Covid-19 Q&A Webinar

Is COVID-10 a vascular illness? What is the status for developing a vaccine for COVID-19? Is the virus being treated with steroid therapy? In this webinar, Dr. Anisha Dua, and Dr. Sebastian Sattui answer these questions submitted from patients concerning the global pandemic.

Recorded September 3, 2020
Vasculitis and Emotional Health

We all know how vasculitis can affect us physically, but we’re not always prepared how it may affect us emotionally. In this segment, Dana DeMoulin, LCSW, Sara Baird Amodio, MSW, EdD, and webinar host, Kathy Olevsky, talk about how a diagnosis can impact our emotional well-being.

August 14, 2020
Effective Strategies for Virtual Telehealth Visits

One of the ways the COVID-19 health crisis has impacted our lives is through a renewed reliance on telemedicine and virtual visits instead of an in-person exams with a medical provider. In this fascinating webinar, Dr. Ronald Falk discusses the pros and cons of telemedicine.

August 14, 2020
The Rise of Telehealth in the Era of Covid-19

Is telehealth the wave of the future? How do patients feel about it? Watch this interesting webinar to learn about a study trying to understand the telehealth experience for patients with autoimmune disease. Dr. Maria Danila, and Dr. Michael George discuss the findings of a survey that looks at the use of telehealth and virtual medical visits.

Recorded August 10, 2020
Vasculitis and Covid-19 Update

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, patients with vasculitis have more questions, concerns, and a need to get the latest, reliable information about this global pandemic. As part of its patient education initiative, the VF hosted this special, live webinar featuring a panel of medical experts led by Anisha Dua, MD, MPH, Director, Northwestern Vasculitis Center.

Recorded August 3, 2020
Vasculitis and Vaccines

In this webinar, Dr. Eric Ruderman gives both an overview explaining what patients with vasculitis need to know about vaccines, and an update about about the development of a potential vaccine for the COVID-19 virus.

Recorded May 23, 2020
What We Know and What We Don’t Know: Vasculitis and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated many questions not only among the general public, but especially for high-risk patients who are being treated with immune suppressing medications. In this exclusive VF Road to Wellness Webinar, a panel of medical specialists address many of the questions being asked by patients with vasculitis during this global health crisis.

The Basics: What You Need To Know

Click any box below to access the resource.

Information if You are Immune-Compromised

We understand the special anxieties, questions, and stress for our community, especially those taking immune suppressive medicines like biologic drugs.  The populations likely to be at higher risk of developing severe infections are patients with rheumatic diseases, including vasculitis. We will continue to gather information and consult our medical experts to answer your questions with accurate information.

Situation Reports

Novel Coronavirus

A short video by the World Health Organization about the coronavirus.