Frequently Asked Questions: IBD and COVID-19 Vaccination

We know many of our patients may have questions regarding IBD and the COVID-19 vaccine and have concerns about immunosuppression. The Oregon Clinic Gastroenterology providers would like to share the following information about how the vaccine will impact IBD patients and caregivers.

For the latest and most reliable information about Oregon's vaccine distribution plan, we recommend visiting the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Vaccine Updates website

  1. Can the COVID-19 mRNA-based vaccine cause COVID-19 infection?
    No. The COVID-19 vaccines currently available, Moderna and Pfizer are NOT live vaccines. Therefore, they cannot cause a COVID-19 infection in the recipient.
  2. Can the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine cause or worsen inflammatory bowel disease?
    No COVID-19 vaccines have been demonstrated to cause or worsen IBD.
  3. Are people with inflammatory bowel disease at increased risk of getting COVID-19?
    People with IBD are at the same risk of getting COVID-19 as the general population. Please see CDC guidelines for decreasing your risk of infection.
  4. Can people on IBD immunosuppressive medicines get the COVID-19 vaccine?
    Yes! The Moderna and Pfizer (mRNA based) vaccines are NOT live vaccines, so these are safe to receive for people on immunosuppressants. The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is a killed virus vaccine and is also safe. Here is a link if you have other questions about the three vaccines available here in the United States.
  5. What can we do while we wait for immunity in the general population to get to safe levels?
    It is essential that we continue to wear masks, watch our physical distance, and wash our hands to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  6. How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine for people on immunosuppressants?
    We know being on immunosuppressants might affect some effectiveness of vaccines, but the benefits are still there in such a safe vaccine. We will still be getting more data about this as more people get vaccinated.
  7. Should patients with inflammatory bowel disease on immune-suppressing medications get a booster or 3rd dose (mRNA) vaccine? [These medicines include infliximab (Remicade) or biosimilar, adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia), golimumab (Simponi), ustekinumab (Stelara), vedolizumab (Entyvio), tofacitinib (Xeljanz), methotrexate, thiopurine-azathioprine (Imuran) or mercaptopurine]
    Yes! Please go ahead and get a 3rd dose unless you had significant adverse effects with the other doses. At this time, the CDC has not issued any specific guidance on booster doses (or an extra dose) for people who have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
  8. Patients and caregivers are encouraged to follow the guidance below:
    Seek information from reputable IBD sources, such as Crohn's & Colitis Foundation and medical organizations that provide specific data and references about the vaccine, such as the Centers for Disease ControlFood & Drug Administration, and National Institutes of Health
  9. Do I need to separate my infusion and my COVID-19 vaccine?
    Yes. You will want to have at least 48 hours between getting your vaccine and getting an infusion.


Updated: August 2021