COVID-19 has ruled the world for the past year and a half, devastating every community along the way.
With tensions running high over the efficacy and safety of the newly released COVID-19 vaccine, we rummaged for information on how it affects an already immunosuppressed community - the psoriasis one.
What does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have to say?
Well, the CDC reports that people with underlying medical conditions are at an increased risk of developing COVID-19. And this is especially true of those living with psoriasis, or any disorder that affects the immune system.
Weakened immune systems result in more severe symptoms and extended periods of sickness and recovery, making it less than desirable to risk any infection or illness.
But while many have chosen to protect themselves against the coronavirus by receiving the vaccine, the CDC states that no data is currently available on the safety of it for those with autoimmune conditions (though a few are in progress).
The National Psoriasis Foundation
The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) has taken a stance to address the growing concerns among hundreds of psoriasis community members.
According to the site, the NPF COVID-19 Task-Force updated its guidance in February 2021 to state that: ‘Patients with psoriatic disease, who do not have contraindications to vaccination, should receive an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them…”
These practicing experts include dermatologists, rheumatologists, infectious disease and critical care doctors.
But beyond doctors and researchers, community members have also taken the time to share their experiences with the vaccination.
The NPF Psoriasis Community
A number of NPF community members took the opportunity to address the hysteria surrounding the cases of those who have become ill from the vaccine, stating that they personally did not have any negative side effects:
“I have both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I have already taken the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I was sick for 4 days. My healthy coworkers were just as sick…” - Carol P.
And Vanessa S., a member on biologics, coming forth stating that she:
“[Has] PsA and got the vaccine. No side effects besides a sore arm the day after.”
The NPF reminds its users that stories or comments from the site should not be taken in lieu of a health care provider's advice, though many seem to be handling the vaccine well.
On other sites, like Reddit and Facebook, psoriasis users have reported similar results.
Reddit Psoriasis Community
Reddit threads on ‘Psoriasis versus COVID-19’ have been buzzing with users who are communicating back and forth and sharing popular opinions.
Some of those opinions, coming from opthamologists and rheumatologists who suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine is suitable for those living with psoriasis, and that it greatly reduces the risk of developing complications from the virus.
Facebook Psoriasis Community
Popular groups on Facebook, comprised of over 30 thousand psoriasis sufferers, have debated the COVID-19 vaccine in great detail, many claiming that they experienced no change in symptoms or flare-ups after receiving both vaccines. Few, reporting mild flare-ups.
Several individuals announced that their primary care physicians warned that the vaccine can stimulate the immune system, causing a response, but that responses have been mild, and they should not be of great concern when deciding to protect against the virus.
What’s the consensus?
There seems to be promising results on the success of the COVID-19 vaccination within the psoriasis community.
And while more long-term data is needed to support these claims, we find comfort knowing that many have described favorable experiences.
In the meantime, we admire how tirelessly the nation’s leading doctors and scientists have worked, and continue to work to heal the wounds left behind by this disastrous outbreak, and we wait for the day that more information becomes available.
As always, we at Psoriasis Honey are also committed to the health and safety of those living with chronic skin conditions, and are helping thousands of people living with psoriasis find relief.Click here to join them.