Guidance on Chronic Illness and the COVID 19 Vaccine | The Doctor Weighs In
By: Daniel Hernandez, M.D.
Regardless of your chronic condition, keeping it as well-controlled as possible — meaning low disease activity or remission — is the goal.
As part of the COVID-19 patient support program, the Global Healthy Living Foundation1and their digital, international arthritis organization, CreakyJoints2, have been speaking to experts, reviewing peer-reviewed literature, and reading government guidance to understand what people living with chronic disease need to know about getting vaccinated. In this article, we use that knowledge to answer questions you may have about chronic illness and COVID-19 vaccination.
Living with chronic illness during the COVID-19 pandemic
We’ve been living with the COVID-19 pandemic so long that it may be hard to remember what it was like before we all learned about the three Ws:
- Wear a Mask
- Wash Your Hands
- Watch Your Distance
It’s simple advice, but even the healthiest person can find it hard to maintain their discipline and good attitude over time. When you are coping with a chronic illness, the pandemic may pose an even bigger burden and be more isolating.
Further, being more confined to our homes did not stop people from experiencing new and alarming symptoms and seeking medical care (in person or via telehealth3). Some individuals were subsequently newly diagnosed with a chronic illness (for example, diabetes, migraine, or an inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, or lupus) and started on therapy.
It can be overwhelming to get diagnosed with an illness that needs to be managed over a lifetime at any time. There is a lot to learn about treatments and monitoring for and managing symptoms. But trying to cope with the challenges of both a newly diagnosed chronic illness and the COVID-19 pandemic can feel like a double whammy.
Here’s what you need to know about managing chronic illness and COVID-19 regardless of whether you have been recently diagnosed or have been living for some time with a chronic illness.