The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) encourages cystic fibrosis (CF) patients to speak to their healthcare team about COVID-19 vaccines, in agreement with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CFF will host a virtual live town hall on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. ET in which a panel of experts will answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccines as they relate to people with CF and their families, a foundation release reports. To submit a question for the Q&A and to register for the town hall, go here.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) released its current recommendations regarding the vaccines developed by Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna late last year. Under them, individuals at the highest risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission, like healthcare professionals and those living and working in long-term care facilities, are first to receive a vaccine.
Then, vaccines will go to second group that includes essential workers and people over age 75. After these initial two rounds, the ACIP recommends that the vaccines be given people over the age of 16 who have underlying medical conditions, like CF, that may put them at greater risk of serious complications from a COVID-19 infection.
Because the COVID-19 vaccines’ availability and allocation can vary widely from state to state, and within cities, CF patients are advised to talk to their healthcare providers about getting the vaccine.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a pronounced effect on rare disease communities, including those living with CF. Because CF causes damage to lung tissue, people with the disease are potentially at increased risk of complications from contracting COVID-19, a disease that primarily affects the lungs. Comorbidities like diabetes, linked to more severe coronavirus infections, are also common among those with CF.
A May 2020 published study that drew on findings in 40 infected patients, however, suggested that COVID-19 outcomes for people with CF patients were similar to the general population. The study, based on registry data between Feb. 1 and April 13, also found a fairly low incidence of infection among this patient population, possibly because people with CF had adopted safeguards.
Still, patients and those in contact with them are strongly encouraged to continue to take appropriate precautions to avoid contracting or transmitting COVID-19 infection. These include avoiding public gatherings, practicing social distancing, wearing a face mask, washing hands frequently, and quarantining after suspected contact with the virus.
The CFF noted that it continues to advocate for priority access to COVID-19 vaccines for the CF community. The foundation is also monitoring developments regarding approved vaccines to better understand how they may affect the community.
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