Third vaccination seems to increase protection against corona in immunosuppressive therapy

Syringe with vial for vaccination © weyo

Vaccination, vaccination, vaccination – there are few other topics that dominate the media, politics, but also our conversations with family and friends so much at the moment: Rightly, because the development of vaccines against the coronavirus and the increasing “vaccination coverage” of the population feed the hope of overcoming this crisis at some point.

For a few months, however, there have been indications that the corona vaccination does not work equally well for all people: A study from March of this year found that people taking immunosuppressive therapy are less able to develop protection against a COVID-19 infection than people without this medication. This can be easily explained:
The mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna used in the study normally elicit a response from the body’s own immune system. This creates antibodies that the coronaviruses can fight off in the event of an infection. However, if the immune system is suppressed with medication, as can be necessary in many diseases – including AA – these antibodies can often not be formed or can be formed in smaller quantities and the risk that protection against COVID-19 fails is increased .

In search of a solution to this problem, a study published in June 2021 can give reason for cautious optimism: A third dose of a COVID vaccine resulted in one in patients who were taking immunosuppressive drugs as a result of a previous organ transplant Increase in antibody levels against the coronavirus. The validity of the study is limited, however, as only a few patients (30) took part and were not vaccinated with a standardized vaccine.

A larger study from France (published in July 2021) was carried out on 383 kidney transplant patients under immunosuppressive therapy: In the blood test it was found that in 28% of the patients in whom no antibodies could be detected after two doses of the vaccine, this was done a third vaccination could be induced. In 82% of the patients, the immune response could be improved by a third dose.

Such studies have so far mainly been carried out on organ transplant patients. It is suspected, however, that the results in patients with other underlying diseases (such as AA) could be similar because the same or comparable immunosuppressive drugs are involved. In Germany alone there are eleven medical centers that are currently researching this issue – so it can be assumed that further scientific results will be published in the next few months.

At the moment there are no guidelines or recommendations from the specialist societies and vaccination commissions regarding a third administration of the corona vaccine. However, the results of the studies mentioned give hope that there is also a chance in our patient group to increase the protection against corona with a third vaccination. We would be happy to keep you up to date on this topic. Stay healthy!