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Update on COVID-19 Vaccine

02 March 2021

We are receiving many calls and enquiries about the vaccine and how that may impact people with RA or JIA.

All patients with RA are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes people taking Disease Modifying Anti Rhematic Drugs such as methotrexate, sulfasalazine, leflunomide and hydroxychloroquine and/or advanced therapies such as biologics, biosimilars and JAK inhibitors. The only potential exception is for those on rituximab for which it is recommended to have a consultation with your treating rheumatologist before you have your COVID19 vaccination. See further information for rituximab patients at https://nras.org.uk/resource/frequently-asked-questions-about-coronavirus-covid-19/#h4

There is no preferred vaccine for people with inflammatory arthritis. The Pfizer/BioNTech, the Moderna and Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccines are all considered safe for immunocompromised persons. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine contains a live adenovirus vector that cannot reproduce in humans, so cannot cause infection and is therefore considered safe for people who are immunosuppressed.

The response to the vaccine for immunocompromised persons may be less than that of the general populations, however studies to date show that there is sufficient response to offer good protection against coronavirus. These studies are ongoing, and we will publish information as we have it to hand.

The guidance on which groups of people will be eligible to receive the vaccine and in what priority was updated on 12/02/21 to more clearly identify people with RA. All people living with RA who have not already been offered the vaccine as part of an earlier priority group will be offered one in Priority Group 6.

You can see this in the NHS vaccine Green Book, which defines who is eligible for vaccination, on page 11, Table 3 here.

It can also be found on the government website here.

For more information, please see our FAQs.


The most up to date guidance on which groups of people will be eligible to receive the vaccine(s) and in what priority can find out more at www.gov.uk/government/groups/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation.

As progress is being made at such a pace and there are massive logistical issues yet to be resolved as you will have seen in the media it will still be some time potentially before you will be contacted in your specific area and offered a vaccination.

NRAS is committed to ensuring that we give you the most accurate and up to date information as it becomes available which is why we cannot answer all of your questions at this time.

We have produced Frequently Asked Questions which we hope will respond to many of your queries. 

Links to other useful information regarding the vaccines can be found here:

NHS information regarding Vaccine roll out: www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccination-programme/primary-care-guidance/

We will bring you links to other NHS information for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as soon as possible.