PANDEMIC PULSE

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R.T. Asked: When Can I Get the COVID-19 Booster After Receiving Monoclonal Antibodies?

On April 14, 2022, R.T. Asked:

“When should immunocompromised patients get their second COVID-19 vaccine booster after receiving monoclonal antibodies? We are getting conflicting information from doctors, the news, medical literature, and hospitals on whether it is safe to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster after receiving monoclonal antibodies and whether doing this will reduce the efficacy of the vaccine. We are in a quandary, not knowing what to do.”

Answer:

Specific data does not yet exist about the interaction between monoclonal antibodies and the COVID-19 vaccines because monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 are new and currently subject to Emergency Use Authorization through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is little data currently available about the safety of monoclonal antibodies and subsequent vaccination. Everyone is different, so we encourage meeting with your health care provider to analyze the risks and benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine following the administration of monoclonal antibodies.

Generally, monoclonal antibodies are given to immunocompromised patients to provide additional passive immunity because their body is unable to mount a full amnestic response to the invasive pathogen (in this case, SARS-CoV-2). For most people, in the absence of a known exposure to COVID-19, it is appropriate to get the COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster when it is due. Some people may choose to delay getting a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster because they may retain some level of protection from the monoclonal antibodies for up to approximately 8 months after receiving monoclonal antibodies. To determine your current level of immunity against COVID-19, you can receive a COVID-19-specific quantitative IgG Ab blood test. A patient can request this test from their health care provider, and the test’s results can help guide informed treatment decisions on a case-by-case basis.

An important distinction between monoclonal antibodies and the COVID-19 vaccines is that they may perform differently against a new emerging strain of the virus. In some situations, the vaccines may offer some protection that monoclonal antibodies do not, and in other situations, the reverse may be true. While some patients may choose to delay receiving a COVID-19 vaccine because they currently have some level of protection offered by monoclonal antibodies, other patients may choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it is due because receiving it alongside monoclonal antibodies could provide more robust protection against COVID-19 and future variants.

If you are still unsure about whether it is safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster, based on your individual circumstances, we encourage you to continue taking other measures to protect yourself against COVID-19. Most importantly, you should maintain physical distance from other people, wear a face mask, and wash your hands frequently. Review our COVID-19 Safety Guide for more tips on how to protect yourself against COVID-19.

Click here to access other COVID-19 FAQ.

J.B. Asked: Can I Appeal a Disability Insurer’s Medical Review?

“I have long COVID and I recently filed a claim for disability insurance benefits through my workplace disability policy. The insurance company relied on a clinician’s review of my medical records to deny my claim. The clinician is employed by the insurance company, they never examined me in-person, and they do not specialize in a field of medicine relevant to my long COVID symptoms. Can I appeal the insurance company’s decision?”

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FDA Grants EUA to Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine

On July 13, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA’s authorization of this vaccine provides an additional option for individuals who wish to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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