COVID-19 Vaccines and Chronic Disease Where Are We at Now?
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COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue and nearly half the population in the United States is now fully vaccinated.
Even though we are starting to see a steady decline in new cases and deaths, the threat is still very high, and if you are a chronic disease patient, you should continue to take all necessary precautions to protect yourself.
You and your doctor need to discuss whether the vaccine is suitable for you and, if so, which one is best for your specific condition.
In general, immune-suppressing medications, including biologics used to treat chronic diseases such as lupus, MS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis, don’t affect how the vaccine works.
However, your physician may provide special instructions for you to obtain the maximum benefits from the vaccine.
Life After Vaccination
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regularly updates its recommendations regarding safe activities and prevention protocols after your vaccination. The following guidelines are considered safe for most individuals who are fully vaccinated. However, remember to speak to your doctor before resuming pre-pandemic activities.
Choose Safer Activities
Even when fully vaccinated, some activities are safer than others. Here, we list some of the safest activities for you to choose:
- Walking or biking outdoors alone or with members of your household
- Attending small outdoor parties or gatherings with vaccinated friends and family
- Visiting your regular hair salon or barber
Going to doctor’s appointments
Wear a Mask
While the CDC has indicated that most vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks when out in public if they are part of a high-risk group, the safest approach is to continue wearing masks when out in public settings.
Continue to Maintain Physical Distance
One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is maintaining a safe distance between you and people who are not part of your household.
When going outside, try always to maintain a distance of at least 6-feet from other people.
Continue to Wash Your Hands Frequently
Having clean hands can help prevent many viral and bacterial illnesses, including the common cold, the flu, and COVID-19.
Remember to wash your hands frequently when you know you’ve had contact with high traffic surfaces like handrails, doorknobs, and ATMs.
Don’t Discontinue Your Medication
Continue your biologic treatments before and after your vaccination unless your doctor instructs you to stop or delay it.
Stopping your disease therapy abruptly may result in symptom flareups and an increase in disability.
Don’t Miss Your Infusion Session
Some medications may make the vaccine less effective. If this is your case, your doctor may decide to reschedule your infusion therapy to accommodate your vaccination. Otherwise, do your best to keep your appointments.
The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over. New variants of the virus continue to appear. Nevertheless, we should all be hopeful that life will soon return to how it was before the pandemic. First, however, we need to remain vigilant and do everything to protect ourselves and our loved ones.