Covid-19 Vaccine & Fanconi Anemia

Last updated May 14, 2021. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

This statement was written with the input of the National Organization for Rare Diseases and clinicians specialized in treating Fanconi anemia patients.

In December 2020, two COVID-19 vaccines were approved by the FDA in the United States. Another was approved in early 2021. What does this mean for people with Fanconi anemia and their families?

About the vaccine

As of March 2021, the three vaccines approved for use in the United States are from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people 12 years and older (administered in 2 doses, 3 weeks apart), and the Moderna vaccine is approved for individuals 18 years and older (administered in 2 doses, 4 weeks apart). Both the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccines are mRNA-based vaccines. These vaccines do not contain the virus or even a piece of the virus and therefore cannot cause COVID-19 infection. Both vaccines are generally well tolerated with no serious safety concern and have greater than 95 percent efficacy at preventing COVID-19 symptoms.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is administered in a single dose, opposed to two doses like both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The vaccine is currently recommended for people aged 18 years and older. The J&J vaccine does not contain SARS-CoV-2 and cannot give you COVID-19, and differs from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, in that it is not an mRNA vaccine but is a viral vector vaccine. For additional information on the differences between an mRNA and a viral vector vaccines, please visit these CDC links (mRNA and viral vector).

As more vaccines become available, you can find the most up to date information on the CDC website.

Should individuals with FA get the vaccine?

The best and safest way to protect yourself from the virus is by getting vaccinated. Individuals, with or without FA, should get the vaccine as soon as it is available to them, unless there is a strong reason not to, as reviewed with their own provider. This may include:

  • If a patient has allergies to a vaccine component (J&J vaccine ingredientsPfizer ingredientsModerna ingredients).
  • If a patient is currently undergoing transplant or had a transplant and has not begun the reimmunization process (timing to be determined by your transplant clinicians). According to the FA Clinical Care Guidelines (2020), “Patients with FA should be screened for immune reconstitution one year after HCT. The primary care physician should discuss the exact timing of immunizations with the patient’s transplant physician” (Chapter 13, p. 230).

We strongly advise you and your family members to speak with your primary health care providers about whether and when to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Just like everything else with Fanconi anemia, the risks and benefits for any medical decision should be weighed on a case-by-case basis and discussed with the patient’s treating physician.

When can I get the vaccine?

Review the CDC website to learn more about considerations for people with underlying medical conditions. As with the frontline health care workers and nursing home residents, it is likely that individuals with underlying medical conditions, including those with compromised immune systems, respiratory and heart conditions, cancer survivors, and people 65 years and older, will be prioritized to receive the vaccine.

While the CDC makes recommendations for those who should be offered the COVID-19 vaccines first, each state has its own plan for deciding who will be vaccinated first and how they can receive the vaccines. Contact your local health department for more information on COVID-19 vaccination rollout plans in your area.

Where can I learn more?

Categories: Announcements

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