Dec 18, 2020
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people with
inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have had many questions. Now that
vaccines against the virus are becoming available, people living
with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis need even more
information in order to make decisions. I asked Dr David Rubin,
Chief of the Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition
and the Co-Director of the Digestive Diseases Center at The
University of Chicago Medicine to answer some of these initial
questions about the first COVID-19 vaccines (manufactured by Pfizer
and Moderna). Topics discussed on this episode include:
- How vaccines work
- How mRNA works
- How IBD medications affect the immune system
- IBD medications and their potential effect on COVID-19
- When we'll have more information about COVID-19 vaccines and
- Why side effects with vaccines are expected and what they
- The first thing is to remember that inflammatory bowel disease
itself is a condition where in almost all situations, the immune
system is overactive. So having Crohn's disease or ulcerative
colitis is not a situation where you're immune deficient.
- So IBD patients in all the analyses during COVID have not
actually been found to be at increased risk for getting infected,
or at increased risk for developing COVID as having just because
they have Crohn's or colitis or have an ostomy or have a j
- The messenger RNA is degraded within a couple days it's out of
your system doesn't hang around. It doesn't ever enter the nucleus
of cells, it doesn't become a permanent part of your genetic
material in your body. And therefore that's why it is thought to be
- But I want to make it clear to everyone that they didn't just
decide to do this in February, March. This was something that
actually was in development, it just got pushed through because of
the critical nature of the pandemic.
- ... there are no data to say that vaccination triggers IBD. And
it's been looked at carefully in many studies. And there's no data
to show that getting a vaccine triggers a relapse of your IBD. And
the newer vaccines that we're talking about here, will not do that
- ...we don't know for sure yet is whether you'll have impaired
ability to mount a protective immunity at the same level as if you
weren't on therapy. But that doesn't mean you won't develop any
immunity. And in fact, it's possible that you'll develop the same
immunities to general population because the messenger RNA vaccine
is a completely new mechanism.
Dr Rubin's Tweets and Tweetorials:
Find David T. Rubin, MD at
The University of Chicago Medicine, Twitter, Rubin Lab, Rubin's Reflections
(Blog), and Cornerstones Health.
Find Amber J Tresca at AboutIBD.com, Verywell,
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Credits: Mix and sound design is by Mac Cooney.
Theme music, "IBD
Dance Party,” is from ©Cooney Studio.