November 15, 2023

Fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine saved lives of rheumatic disease patients

Editor's Note

Receiving a fourth dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine recommended for patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, was found to have saved lives and reduced hospitalizations among that patient population. The findings were published in the journal The Lancet Rheumatology on November 15.

The researchers used data from the Mass General Brigham healthcare systems, comparing rheumatic patients who received the fourth vaccine dose to those who had not–4,305 patients in total. Patients who received the fourth vaccine dose had a 41% lowered risk for COVID-19 infection and a 65% lowered risk for hospital admission and death than those who did not receive the fourth dose. 

Researchers at the hospital have been dedicated to following this at-risk patient population since the beginning of the pandemic, to follow their clinical course and better understand outcomes. The findings confirm that patients with rheumatic diseases should be encouraged to remain current with their COVID-19 mRNA vaccines,  including boosters. 


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