Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Safety of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases: results from the EULAR Coronavirus Vaccine (COVAX) physician-reported registry


Objectives To describe the safety of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 in people with inflammatory/autoimmune rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease (I-RMD).

Methods Physician-reported registry of I-RMD and non-inflammatory RMD (NI-RMDs) patients vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. From 5 February 2021 to 27 July 2021, we collected data on demographics, vaccination, RMD diagnosis, disease activity, immunomodulatory/immunosuppressive treatments, flares, adverse events (AEs) and SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections. Data were analysed descriptively.

Results The study included 5121 participants from 30 countries, 90% with I-RMDs (n=4604, 68% female, mean age 60.5 years) and 10% with NI-RMDs (n=517, 77% female, mean age 71.4). Inflammatory joint diseases (58%), connective tissue diseases (18%) and vasculitis (12%) were the most frequent diagnostic groups; 54% received conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), 42% biological DMARDs and 35% immunosuppressants. Most patients received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (70%), 17% AstraZeneca/Oxford and 8% Moderna. In fully vaccinated cases, breakthrough infections were reported in 0.7% of I-RMD patients and 1.1% of NI-RMD patients. I-RMD flares were reported in 4.4% of cases (0.6% severe), 1.5% resulting in medication changes. AEs were reported in 37% of cases (37% I-RMD, 40% NI-RMD), serious AEs in 0.5% (0.4% I-RMD, 1.9% NI-RMD).

Conclusion The safety profiles of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in patients with I-RMD was reassuring and comparable with patients with NI-RMDs. The majority of patients tolerated their vaccination well with rare reports of I-RMD flare and very rare reports of serious AEs. These findings should provide reassurance to rheumatologists and vaccine recipients and promote confidence in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine safety in I-RMD patients.

  • COVID-19
  • vaccination
  • autoimmune diseases
  • antirheumatic agents
  • epidemiology

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Applications to access the data should be made to the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR).

This article is made freely available for personal use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.