Coronavirus: Weathering the Storm Together

The VF is committed to helping you make the best decisions during this ongoing and ever-changing health crisis. We created this page to bring you the latest, most reliable information and online resources. Here, you will find:

  • Updates and news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), National Institutes of Health, and other legitimate medical sources about booster shots, the Delta Variant, and vaccine efficacy.
  • Links to our 2021 VF COVID-19 Update Webinars, ACR Town Hall Conferences, and online medical media about COVID-19.
  • Articles, publications, and critical commentary from our medical experts about the impact on our patient population.
  • Access to real-time, global COVID-19 tracker resources.

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.

Be sure to visit this page regularly because we are continually adding important, late-breaking content as it becomes available.

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

New and Noteworthy

The need for answers and information about the COVID-19 pandemic is especially relevant for patients who are immunocompromised. In this short webinar, Len Calabrese, MD, and his daughter, Casandra Calabrese, MD, give an update on the latest developments concerning antivirals, monoclonal antibody treatments, Euvsheld, vaccine efficacy, and boosters against variants.  Recorded May 9, 2022.

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

These videos were recorded in 2021 and are based on information known at the time of recording. However, much of the information regarding antibodies, wearing masks, getting vaccines and booster shots remains relevant today.

Information regarding current variant(s), development of new treatments, new guidelines for immunocompromised patients, and the latest CDC guidelines will be included in our upcoming 2022 VF Covid webinars.

Please note: patients should always consult their physicians for the latest information about COVID-19.

Recorded October 4, 2021
COVID-19: Vaccines, booster shots, and updates

As the COVID-19 health crisis continues we face new questions, challenges, and potential research developments. In this excellent webinar, Dr. Ronald Falk, Dr. Anisha Dua, and Dr. Mike Putman respond to patient questions about booster shots, studies looking at antibody responses for immune-compromised patients; and even some reasons for cautious optimism about the future of COVID.

Recorded July 6, 2021
COVID-19: Vaccines and Antibodies

In this webinar a panel of doctors take on one of the most asked questions by patients who are currently taking immune suppressing medications and wonder if the vaccine provides adequate protection against the virus. Dr. Anisha Dua leads the discussion, and she is joined by Dr. Kevin Byram, and Dr. Sebastian Sattui.

Also, Dr. Kevin Byram delivers a viewer-friendly explanation about antibodies to better help us understand their role in providing protection against disease.

Recorded February 27, 2021
COVID-19 Updates and Q&A for a New Year

The VF Covid-19 webinar series continues with a new webinar at the start of a new year. Dr. Anisha Dua is joined by Dr. Peter Merkel, and Dr. Divi Cornec discussing the latest information about COVID-19, and its impact on the immunocompromised patients.

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.