Arthritis and Rheumatism Associates, P.C.

COVID Vaccine Fourth Dose Guidance

Updated January 12, 2022

The physicians of Arthritis & Rheumatism Associates (ARA) are aware of the latest CDC COVID vaccination recommendations. Based on the updated guidelines, some of our patients may be eligible to receive their 4th dose of the COVID vaccine.

In August 2021, the CDC recommended that moderate to severely immunocompromised patients receive a third Moderna or Pfizer COVID vaccine dose no sooner than 28 days after completing the primary vaccine series. Due to the recent surge of COVID cases from the Omicron variant, the CDC has updated guidelines for immunocompromised patients that make them eligible for a fourth dose. These select patients ≥ 18 years are eligible to receive their 4th dose of either Moderna or Pfizer vaccine as soon as 5 months after their 3rd dose. Those who received the J&J vaccination as the primary dose are not advised to receive an additional primary dose, but are eligible to receive a booster dose of either Moderna or Pfizer as soon as 2 months after the 1st dose.

For patients who are not moderately to severely immunocompromised, the CDC now recommends a third booster dose of vaccine to complete their primary vaccination series. Patients can receive their Moderna or Pfizer booster at least 5 months after completing the primary vaccine series. Patients who received J&J as their primary dose are eligible to receive their booster dose as soon as 2 months after the 1st dose.

FDA has authorized a “mix-and-match” approach for the booster dose, which means that one can choose either a third dose of the vaccine they originally received or a dose of the other available mRNA vaccine as their third dose. ARA physicians support the American College of Rheumatology recommendation that patients who received the J&J vaccine choose a booster dose of an mRNA-based vaccine (either Moderna or Pfizer). For patients who received the original mRNA-based vaccine series, the additional dose should be mRNA-based also.

The Moderna COVID vaccine is available for eligible patients (see above) at select ARA locations (Frederick, Rockville, Olney, Wheaton, Chevy Chase, and Fairfax). ARA can now give you the Moderna vaccine if you have previously received the J&J vaccine at least 2 months ago. If you would like to make an appointment at one of these locations, please request one through your patient portal. We do not recommend calling to make an appointment. If you received the original Pfizer vaccine series, you are also eligible to mix-and-match your 3rd or 4th dose and receive the Moderna vaccine.

At this time, it is not required to get a letter for clearance to get an extra vaccine dose. If you are asked for a letter, one can be provided to you through your patient portal.

Medication & COVID-19 Vaccines

For our patients who have not yet had an initial vaccination, the physicians of ARA encourage our patients to obtain any of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna), which are preferred at this time based on the American College of Rheumatology guidance, partly due to the availability of supplemental doses for the mRNA vaccines.

We support the guidance from the American College of Rheumatology regarding how to take various medications around the time of COVID-19 vaccinations:

If you take ibuprofen, naproxen, other NSAIDs, or Tylenol, and your rheumatologic disease is doing well, do not take them for 24 hours prior to vaccination (no restrictions on use post-vaccination).

If you take any of the following medications, and your rheumatologic disease is doing well, do not take this medication for 1 week after each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine:

Xeljanz (tofacitinib)

Rinvoq (upadacitinib)

Olumiant (baricitinib)

Cellcept (mycophenolate)

Cyclosporine (oral)

Tacrolimus (oral)

Lupkynis (voclosporin)

If you take methotrexate and your rheumatologic disease is doing well:

Do not take methotrexate for 1 week after each of the mRNA vaccine doses (Pfizer, Moderna)

Do not take methotrexate for 2 weeks after single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson)

If you take the following medications, contact ARA when you are nearing the time of your COVID-19 vaccination to plan scheduling the doses: 

Orencia (abatacept)

Rituxan (rituximab)

Cyclophosphamide intravenous only (Cytoxan)

If you take the following medications, you do not have to change your medication dosing schedule around the time of your initial COVID-19 vaccination (for advice about supplemental vaccine doses see the different list):

 

Actemra

Guselkumab (Tremfya)

Sarilumab (Kevzara)

Adalimumab (Humira)

Humira

Secukinumab (Cosentyx)

Anakinra (Kineret)

hydrocortisone

Simponi

Arava (leflunomide)

Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)

Simponi Aria

Azathioprine (Imuran)

Ilaris

Skyrizi

Belimumab (Benlysta)

Imuran

Stelara

Benlysta

Infliximab (Remicade, Inflectra, Renflexis) 

Sulfasalazine

Canakinumab (Ilaris)

Ixekizumab (Taltz)

Taltz

Certolizumab (Cimzia)

Kevzara

Tocilizumab (Actemra)

Cimzia

Kineret

Tremfya

Cosentyx

Leflunomide

Ustekinumab (Stelara

Cyclophosphamide oral only (Cytoxan)

Prednisone

Zoledronic acid (Reclast)

Cytoxan (oral only)

Prolia

 

Denosumab (Prolia)

   Reclast

 

Enbrel

   Remicade

 

Etanercept (Enbrel)

   Rizankizumab (Skyrizi)

 

Evenity

Romosozumab (Evenity)

 

 

 

 

Holding medications around the time of supplemental dose of vaccine. If you are taking one of these medications or were taking them when you received your initial mRNA vaccination. If your rheumatologic disease is doing well, do not take any of the following medications for 1-2 weeks after supplemental vaccination, then restart taking them:

 

Arava (leflunomide)

Methotrexate (Otrexup, Rasuvo, Rheumatrex)

Azathioprine (Imuran)

Mycophenolate (Cellcept)

Apremilast (Otezla)

Olumiant (baricitinib)

Belimumab (Benlysta)

Orencia (abatacept)

Benlysta

Otezla

Cellcept

Rinvoq (upadacitinib)

Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)

Rituxan (rituximab)

Cyclosporine

Sulfasalazane

Cytoxan

Tacrolimus (oral)

Imuran 

Voclosporin (Lupkynis)

Leflunomide

Xeljanz (tofacitinib)

Lupkynis

 

 

Immune Modulating Medications

If you are taking one of these medications (or were taking them when you received your initial mRNA vaccination) then you should obtain a supplemental dose of mRNA vaccine:

 

Actemra

Cimzia

Ilaris

Olumiant (baricitinib)

Simponi Aria

Xeljanz (tofacitinib)

Adalimumab (Humira)

Cosentyx

Imuran 

Orencia (abatacept)

Skyrizi

 

Anakinra (Kineret)

Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)

Infliximab (Remicade, Inflectra, Renflexis, etc.)

Prednisone and methylprednisolone

Stelara

 

Arava (leflunomide)

cyclosporine

Ixekizumab (Taltz)

Remicade

Sulfasalazine

 

Azathioprine (Imuran)

Cytoxan

Kevzara

Rinvoq (upadacitinib)

Tacrolimus (oral)

 

Belimumab (Benlysta)

Enbrel

Kineret

Rituxan (rituximab)

Taltz

 

Benlysta

Etanercept (Enbrel)

Leflunomide

Rizankizumab (Skyrizi)

Tocilizumab (Actemra)

 

Canakinumab (Ilaris)

Guselkumab (Tremfya)

Lupkynis

Sarilumab (Kevzara)

Tremfya

 

Cellcept

Humira

Methotrexate (Otrexup, Rasuvo, Rheumatrex)

Secukinumab (Cosentyx)

Ustekinumab (Stelara)

 

Certolizumab (Cimzia)

Hydrocortisone (oral)

Mycophenolate (Cellcept)

Simponi

Voclosporin (Lupkynis)

 

 

Reference link: American College of Rheumatology COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Guidance Summary for Patients with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases.

   

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