In early August, the CDC announced its new COVID-19 guidelines, shifting focus to how people can prevent severe infection rather than the spread of the virus. The CDC does not recommend dropping all precautionary measures. But the new guidelines stress vaccination to prevent infection rather than requiring regular testing, quarantining for people who have been exposed, mask-wearing and social distancing.
We know that this can be confusing and challenging for people with lupus. In general, people with lupus are at a higher risk for COVID-19 infection and severe illness. Lupus affects each person differently, and someone’s risk level will vary due to disease activity and the medications they take.
We suggest that the best ways to protect yourself in the current environment are to:
- Get vaccinated and stay up-to-date on your vaccines and boosters. The current recommendations for patients taking immunosuppressants are to get up to five vaccines: an initial series of three mRNA vaccines and two boosters.
- Encourage the people around you – your family, friends and coworkers – to be aware of your health status and take steps to protect themselves and you, with vaccinations in particular.
- Speak with your doctor about your risk level and if you should continue to wear a mask in public places.
- Ask your doctor about Evusheld. Evusheld is a monoclonal antibody injection for those who are immunosuppressed and who may not have made good antibody responses to the vaccines.
- Paxlovid is an anti-viral medication that can prevent severe COVID-19 if you take it soon after you turn positive.
- Talk to your doctor about these medications to prevent and treat COVID-19 and have a plan for what to do if you get sick.
- If you start having symptoms, get tested right away. Medications for COVID-19 work best when given early.
- Trust yourself. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe about a gathering or event and you are able to stay home, then do so. You have every right to look after your health. Masking and social distancing do still work!
Throughout the pandemic, the Lupus Foundation of America has played a leading role in advocating for people with lupus and their needs. To name a few, we serve on the steering committee of the Immunocompromised Collaborative, a group of leading national organizations representing immunocompromised people. We also continue to engage with the CDC and other government officials to ensure that the needs of people with lupus are a priority. The safety and well-being of the lupus community are top priorities for us.
Learn about some of the most common COVID-19 Vaccine and Lupus questions that our Health Education Specialists have received and answered.
This post was originally published on this site