IBD Treatment Blunts Vaccine Response

Angie Szumlinski Health, Studies

People who take a commonly prescribed drug for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should not assume they are protected after a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, after a large-scale study found many had poor antibody responses. The research measured antibody responses after vaccination with the Pizer/BioNtech or the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in 865 people treated with infliximab, an anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) biologic drug.

After a single dose of vaccine, only about one third of participants (103 of 328 treated exclusively with infliximab generated adequate levels of antibodies to the virus for the vaccine to be considered effective. However, in a sub-group of people who had previously been infected with COVID-19, and also in the few patients studied who had already had a second dose of vaccine, the vaccine triggered antibody responses rose significantly, indicating an effective response after two exposures.

Sarah Sleety, Chief Executive o Crohn’s & Colitis UK said: “This is the first robust evidence that people Crohn’s and colitis who may need to take specific drugs to suppress their immune system, do not develop the expected antibodies after their first vaccination dose, although a second dose does improve antibody levels”. If you have residents with IBD (or you have a diagnosis of IBD) please check with their primary care physician and be sure that both doses have been administered appropriately for each resident (and you)! Stay well, mask up indoors and stay tuned!