QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Dr. T. I have lupus. I got both of my Moderna COVID vaccines. Can I take off my mask like the CDC recommends?
I am so glad you asked this question!
NO! (generally, see exceptions below)
The CDC's recommendation that vaccinated people can be outside without a mask and indoors when around other vaccinated people apply to the general public.
However, we do not know how well the vaccines work in people with autoimmune diseases?
I am so happy you got vaccinated. Until many more of us get vaccinated, life can't get back to "normal." Although, it is not guaranteed that you responded to the vaccine, if the COVID vaccine goes in line with other lupus vaccine studies, there should at least be some protection. Exceptions would include those who are heavily immunosuppressed may not have a very good response (for example, someone on rituximab who gets vaccinated a month or so after their treatment are unlikely to have a robust response).
Please continue to protect yourself with social distancing. Protect yourself at all times similar to how the CDC recommended prior to the vaccines.
Ask you friends and family to strongly consider getting vaccinated to help protect you as well (the cocoon effect)
If you have very mild lupus that has been in remission, you are young with no other health problems, and you take only hydroxychloroquine as your medication, they you could possibly do OK by not wearing a mask via the May 2021 guidelines for people who have been vaccinated.
Please ask your rheumatologist for their advice.
Note that Dr. Thomas' posts are for informational purposes only, and are not meant to be specific medical advice for individuals. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider with any questions regarding your own medical situation.
DONALD THOMAS, MD