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Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccine info for IBD patients

Immunocompromised people are also eligible to receive a booster dose 168 days after their third dose.

You can receive the seasonal flu vaccine either before, after, or at the same time as the 3rd dose of the COVID vaccine. There is no required spacing between these vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccine info for Nova Scotia IBD patients

***update as of October 14, 2021 *****

Info from NS Public Health regarding 3rd doses for immunocompromised people:

You can get 1 additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine if you’re:

  • moderately or severely immunocompromised

 

Immunocompromised

Immunocompromised people, including those taking medications that can substantially affect their immune system, are at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends 1 additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine for moderately or severely immunocompromised people to increase immune response to the virus.

Moderately or severely immunocompromised people who received 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine can receive 1 additional dose at least 28 days after their last dose.

Starting 19 October 2021, if you’re eligible for an additional dose, you can book an appointment at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/book-your-vaccination-appointment/ or by calling 1-833-797-7772 (7am to 7pm, 7 days a week). 

*******You also need to bring a list of medications and other supporting documentation (like prescription bottles and insurance notes) to your appointment that shows you meet the criteria for moderate to severe immunocompromise. Vaccination clinics will review your medications and supporting documentation to make sure you’re eligible and that your medication substantially affects your immune system.*****

If the vaccination clinic can’t confirm you meet the criteria for moderate to severe immunocompromise you can’t receive an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the clinic.

The detailed criteria can be found here: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/immunocompromised/   however the medications that are included are:

-infliximab (e.g. Remicade, Inflectra)

-adalimumab (e.g. Humira)

-vedolizumab (Entyvio)

-ustekinumab (Stelara)

-golimumab (Simponi)

-tofacitinib (Xeljanz)

-Prednisone >20mg for >14 days

-azathioprine (Imuran) 

-6MP (mecaptopurine) 

-methotrexate 

Further information can be found at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/vaccine/ 

 

 *** info regarding the vaccine is rapidly changing. This information was current as of September 13, 2021

Is the vaccine safe and can I receive it?

There vaccines that are currently approved and being administered in Canada are mRNA vaccines that are made by Pfizer and Moderna. The mRNA vaccines are not live vaccines and can be given to patients who are immunosuppressed.

Health Canada has conducted a rigorous scientific review of the available medical evidence to assess the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently licensed in Canada. No major safety concerns have been identified in the data that was reviewed (Source: Health Canada).

Most immunocompromised people and those with diseases of the immune system were excluded from the initial coronavirus vaccine trials. Now that the vaccine has come to market and is available for use, the vaccine is likely to be studied in immunocompromised people.

It's understandable to have questions about the fact that there has been no specific vaccine trial for people with Crohn's or Colitis on immunosuppressants. However, this is true of most medicines and vaccines. The coronavirus vaccine has been extensively tested, and trials have involved people with varied chronic underlying conditions and broad age ranges, including many older people. Older people have weaker immune systems than younger people, and the vaccine was still found to be suitable for them. The data on how people with Crohn's and Colitis have coped with coronavirus, even those taking medicines that affect their immune system, is reassuring, and shows no significant differences from the general population (Source: Crohn’s and Colitis UK).

 

For more general information on the vaccine and to book your appointment please visit

 https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/vaccine/

 

It is important to note that this information may change often so you should try and stay updated by checking for new information and listening to news briefings.

For more information regarding the vaccine and IBD including frequently asked questions please visit:

https://crohnsandcolitis.ca/About-Crohn-s-Colitis/COVID-19-and-IBD/Vaccines

Should you have further questions and feel you need to discuss the vaccine in greater detail please contact your family care provider, pharmacist or member of your IBD care team (nurse, nurse practitioner, physician).

Flu Vaccine

We recommend that all IBD patients receive the annual flu vaccine. Many pharmacies are doing on-line booking this year. Please contact us if you are having trouble getting the vaccine.

The flu vaccine is a non-live vaccine. It is safe to get if you are on biologic therapy. The best time to get your flu shot would be at the “half-way” point between your treatments. For example if you take Humira every 2 weeks, the best time to get the flu shot would be a week after your dose and a week before the next one. If you get an infusion every 8 weeks for example, the best time to get the flu shot would be at the 4 week point.

There is a high dose flu vaccine for patients aged 65 and older. This is an option for our IBD patients who are over 65, however if you are unable to access it, the “regular” dose is sufficient.

 

Where to find us

9th Floor Victoria Building
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3H 2Y5

Telephone: 902-473-6456
Fax: 902-473-4406