Ask the Rheumatologist: Latest Answer
Emma from Canada asks: I received my 2 doses of the Moderna vaccine and with the first experienced a 1 week rheumatoid arthritis flare but it was manageable. After the 2nd dose, my RA took a turn for the worst & I have been in the worst flare of my life since (4 months now). Should I still get the booster?
The best advice for anyone in this situation is to speak with your rheumatologist. Regardless of the vaccine, a flare lasting more than a few weeks deserves a conversation with your rheumatologist to determine the best course of action going forward to get it under better control. That said, while there is some evidence that the COVID vaccine may induce flares in a small minority of cases, most times the flare is either a side effect of the vaccine but perceived as a flare (likely what is described after the first shot) or a coincidence of association, rather than causation. As so many people are getting COVID vaccine, it will happen that some will flare afterwards, but it is likely that many of those flares would have happened anyways. As a general principle, 3rd (and now 4th) shots for COVID vaccine are encouraged for those with rheumatic diseases.