“I’m an IBD patient receiving biologics. Should I get the COVID vaccine?”

(Updated January 18, 2021: We will update this page regularly as more information about the COVID-19 vaccines become available.)

Now that COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed in our communities, many IBD patients receiving biologic treatments are apprehensive about receiving the vaccine. We understand these concerns and our providers are here to support you. Here is some insight from our board-certified gastroenterologists about why you should consider getting the vaccine:

Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me the virus?

The currently available vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are not live vaccines, which means that there is no virus in the actual vaccine. Therefore, the vaccines can’t cause a COVID-19 infection in the recipient.

Are IBD patients at an increased risk for getting COVID-19?

As of now, there is no significant data showing that patients with IBD are at any increased risk for getting COVID-19. Additionally, experts have noted that IBD patients on biologic medications do not appear to be at an increased risk for a severe case of COVID-19 if they do get the virus.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine worsen IBD or even cause it?

No. Current studies show that the COVID vaccines do not cause or worsen IBD in recipients.

Can IBD patients on immunosuppressive medicines get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are NOT live vaccines, so these are safe for people on immunosuppressants to receive. However, we recommend that you avoid getting the vaccine on the same day as your biologic injections/infusions to there is no confusion about the origin of side effects (although these are unlikely). The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from contracting COVID. It’s important to consider getting the vaccine when it is offered to you, especially if you are at increased risk of complications from the virus.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine for people on immunosuppressants?

We don’t expect people that effectiveness will be different for people on immunosuppressants than for the general population. However, we will need to receive more data on this as more people are vaccinated.