IDF Physician Advisory Committee Members Dr. Kathleen Sullivan and Dr. Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo released an informational video on November 25 providing updates on the recent developments in vaccines for COVID-19. The video explains:
- How vaccines work in general
- Types of vaccines available for COVID-19 in the coming months and how they work
- Vaccine administration
- Vaccine distribution process
- Passive immunity products
- Safety of the vaccine for members of the primary immunodeficiency community
- Children and the vaccine
The two vaccines most likely to be distributed first are RNA vaccines, a technology not yet used in any mass vaccination program. The RNA vaccine gives instructions to our bodies to make an imitation infection so that we can mount an immune response. This vaccine does not use an actual part of the virus or bacteria. Instead, it causes your body to make a bit of the spike protein to which you will mount an immune response. Most vaccines will be administered through a simple injection.
Another option for treatment is antibodies, originally made to treat acute COVID-19. The antibodies are now being tested as a preventative strategy to keep people from acquiring the virus, much like people use immunoglobulin to prevent infections. The antibodies could be valuable for those with antibody deficiencies who can’t mount an antibody response to the vaccine.
The CDC gives each state autonomy on how they distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. A CDC Playbook offers some general guidance but has given states broad leeway to determine which populations get the vaccination first.
Is the vaccine safe for those with PI? The vaccine will not be live, which means the PI community does not need to be concerned that it can give them the disease. The physicians said they expect that those who do not have a deficiency in antibody production will be able to respond to the vaccine. It’s also important to remember that vaccines elicit an immune response to protect the body in ways apart from antibody production. This response may protect persons with PI, in particular those with antibody deficiency.
“Stay well, be safe, and know that things are changing rapidly for the better. I can be more optimistic than I have been before,” said Dr. Sullivan.