Liver Disease and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Oregon Clinic

Can the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine cause COVID-19 infection?
The COVID-19 vaccines currently available, Moderna and Pfizer, are not live vaccines. Therefore, they cannot cause a COVID-19 infection in the recipient.

Can the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine cause or worsen liver disease?
There are no vaccines which have been demonstrated to cause or worsen chronic liver diseases.

Are people with liver disease at increased risk for getting COVID-19?
At this time, we do NOT have robust data that patients with liver diseases are at any increased risk for getting COVID-19 compared to the general population. Patients with advanced liver disease may experience more severe COVID illness if they do catch it due to the liver’s decreased ability to fight the infection.

Can people on medicines for liver diseases get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes! Specifically, the Moderna and Pfizer (mRNA based) vaccines are NOT live vaccines, so these are safe to receive for people on the medications we use for liver disease.

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.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine for people with liver disease?
We know having benign liver diseases might change the effectiveness of many vaccines, including the new COVID vaccines. However, it is still beneficial to receive the vaccine when it becomes available to you. While we know the vaccine is safe to receive, we will continue to gather more data about how effective the vaccine is in patients with liver disease as more people get vaccinated.

Where can I find more information about liver disease and the COVID-19 vaccine?
We encourage patients and caregivers to follow the guidance below: