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.
Please check this page regularly as we will make updates when we receive more information about these vaccines and as more vaccines become available.
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.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID-19?
You cannot contract COVID-19 from the vaccine because there is no virus in the actual vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccines currently available, from Moderna and Pfizer, are not live vaccines. Therefore, they cannot cause a COVID-19 infection in the recipient.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause or worsen IBD?
No. There are no vaccines that have been shown to cause or worsen IBD in recipients.
Are people with IBD at increased risk for getting COVID-19?
At this time, we do not have significant data showing that patients with IBD are at any increased risk for getting COVID-19 compared to the general population. Fortunately, IBD patients on biologic medications do not appear to be at an increased risk for a severe case of COVID-19 if they do happen to get it.
Can people on IBD immunosuppressive medicines get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes! Specifically, the Moderna and Pfizer (mRNA based) vaccines are NOT live vaccines, so these are safe for people on immunosuppressants to receive.
What can I do while we wait for immunity in the general population to get to safe levels?
Until we have widespread immunity through vaccination, the only way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is through behavior: wear a mask when around others; avoid indoor crowded spaces with limited ventilation; and be very careful about hand hygiene, using alcohol-based gels or soap and water.
How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine for people on immunosuppressants?
We know being on immunosuppressants might affect some of the vaccine’s effectiveness. However, since the vaccine is so safe, the recipient will still get many benefits. We will receive more data on this as more people are vaccinated.
Where can I find more information about IBD and the COVID-19 vaccine?
We encourage patients with IBD and their caregivers to seek information from reputable IBD sources, such as the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation and medical organizations that provide specific data and references about the vaccine, like the Centers for Disease Control, Food & Drug Administration, and National Institutes of Health. Continue to talk with your primary care physician about when and how your COVID-19 vaccine may become available.