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COVID19 Vaccination Update

So far, it appears that the AstraZeneca Vaccine is suitable for over 50s and I think it is also relatively safe for those patients of this age group who have sarcoidosis and other lung conditions.

I had the COVID vaccine myself a few weeks ago and had no side-effects, although I have encountered patients who have felt unwell for a few days with aches and pains, and feeling a bit flu-like.

The relative risk of developing a life-threatening thrombosis is still very low and I think the risk of dying from COVID far outweighs this risk. However, I think this is a personal decision and I would not try to coerce anyone to have the vaccine if they did not feel happy about having it.

It also appears that the Pfizer vaccine is suited to younger patients who are more at risk at developing thromboses. I think in an ideal world, it would be nice if we all had the Pfizer vaccine. However, problems with supply from Europe etc. have bedevilled the rapid vaccination of the population in Australia. I therefore think we need to be somewhat pragmatic in terms of what is best for all of us.

With regards vaccination, there is some evidence from the South Korean experiences with Influenza vaccine that ceasing drugs such as Methotrexate for a week or two after the vaccination may allow the body to develop a better immune response. However, this is not based on the COVID vaccination experience as there has been insufficient time to do such studies. I do not think there is a compelling reason to stop Methotrexate for a few weeks after vaccination but if sarcoidosis is not life-threatening, this temporary cessation remains a possible alternative approach.

Scientific knowledge is based on clinical studies and other objective evidence and this is evolving slowly. I think it is almost miraculous that we have essentially effective vaccines now a little over 12 months after the pandemic started.

I encourage everyone to be vaccinated, if at all possible, and I recommend you speak to your own GP about this as we all different and some may have had thrombosis in the past.

With the AstraZeneca vaccine, the second dose is given 3 months after the first dose. So far, there have been no cases to my knowledge of thrombosis from the second vaccination. The Pfizer vaccine is given a fortnight after the first. The influenza vaccine should be given at least 2 weeks after any COVID vaccination. I recommend we all have the influenza vaccine as well with a more potent tri-valent vaccine for the those over 65 years old. The tetravalent should be administered for those in the younger age group.