The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Immunodeficiency

All currently available types of COVID vaccines are not live vaccines and therefore are safe for patients with immunodeficiency. However, patients should be aware that because they have an immune system problem, the vaccine may not work very well and so all patients should continue to take the necessary measures to avoid exposure to COVID as per government guidance.
If you are on immunoglobulin replacement therapy given intravenously (through the vein) we recommend that the vaccine is given 2 weeks after your immunoglobulin infusion to reduce the chance of side effects and also give the maximum chance for the vaccine to work. If you receive your infusions more frequent than every four weeks we would suggest having the vaccine mid-way between your two consecutive infusions.

This is to provide as up-to-date information as possible, regarding these vaccines. The PID UK website has detailed information regarding vaccination in immunodeficient patients. Further detailed information regarding the vaccine itself can be accessed via PHE or the GOV.UK Website & Leaflets/Posters. Further, more detailed explanation can be found below.

  1. Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for patients with immunodeficiency 
    • There are currently three different vaccines that are likely to be deployed in the UK amongst the general population; they are made by the pharmaceutical firms Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZenca (also called the Oxford Vaccine). These vaccines have been deemed safe to use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA – the UK medicines regulatory).  For immunodeficiency patients sometimes we have special precautions for vaccinations, especially if they are ‘live’ vaccines and there is a risk of infection from the vaccine. These are not live vaccines and we believe there is no additional risk to immunodeficiency patients for these 3 vaccines. 
  2. Will COVID-19 vaccines be effective in patients with immunodeficiency 
    • Currently, we do not know the answer to this question because the vaccine has not been given to individuals known to have immunodeficiency.  Many vaccines are less effective in individuals with immunodeficiency compared to the general population. However, even though many vaccines are less effective, they may offer some protection against infection and so we recommend that if you do have the vaccine when it is offered to you. This is similar to the flu vaccine, which we recommend all our patient have on an annual basis. Please keep a record of when you have your vaccine as it is possible to assess your response to vaccination when you come to clinic. 
  3. Which vaccine offers the best protection against COVID-19 infection in individuals with immunodeficiency? 
    • Currently, we do not know the answer to that question because the different vaccines have not been directly compared in the general population or individuals with immunodeficiency. 
  4. Why is the vaccine given in two doses? 
    • The vaccine is given in two doses to give the immune system the best chance of making effective, long lasting responses against the virus. Most vaccines, for example those used in the extremely effective childhood immunisation schedule, use more than one dose of each vaccine to ensure lasting immunity. 
  5. Should my family members and household contacts have the COVID-19 vaccine 
    • Yes, we strongly recommend that family members and household contacts receive COVID-19 vaccination. This ensures that your close family members have immunity with the hope that this will reduce the risk that they pass the virus on to you, as you may not respond so well to the vaccine. 
  6. Can I have a COVID-19 vaccine even if I have already had COVID-19 
    • Yes, we strongly recommend that even if you have already have had proven or suspected COVID-19, that you have the vaccine. We do not know how long immunity lasts following natural infection with the virus and vaccination may provide enhanced protection.  
  7. Can I have the COVID-19 vaccine even if I have had the flu vaccine? 
    • Yes. You can have the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of whether you have or haven’t had the flu vaccine this year. If you have had a flu vaccine, we recommend waiting at least 7 days before receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.  
  8. Will immunoglobulin replacement treatment offer any protection against COVID-19 
    • Not at the moment. Currently there are no detectable antibodies against the virus in any of the immunoglobulin replacement products in routine use in the UK or elsewhere and we do not believe that immunoglobulin replacement offers any protection. This is likely to change over the next year but we do not know when.