In the first week of January, the Dutch corona-vaccination program started. When can people with HIV get the vaccine? Which vaccines are going to be used in the Netherlands? And has there been research done on people with HIV? And are there any interactions with HIV medication? We will answer your questions here.
Please note: this article was last updated on January 21st, 2021. We will add to this article as soon as there is news.
Questions about the corona vaccine and HIV
Is vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory?
No, this is not mandatory. You do this for yourself and/or for others.
There are two reasons to get the vaccine:
- You protect yourself. By getting the vaccine, the chances are much lower you get COVID-19. For the same reason for protecting themselves people get the flu jab, or travel vaccinations.
- You protect others. When many people cannot transmit the coronavirus, it has a hard time sustaining in a population. This means we can get rid of the measures like the (partial) lockdown. When you cannot transmit the coronavirus, you also protect others (for example people who cannot get the vaccine themselves).
How do the different vaccines work?
Worldwide, researchers are working on more than two hundred vaccines against COVID-19. You can read below what the different vaccines that are expected in the Netherlands entail.
Bron: The Economist (16 april 2020)
RNA-vaccin from Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty vaccine)
- The American pharmaceutical company Pfizer collaborated with the German company BioNTech to develop this vaccine. The vaccine is named Comirnaty.
- An RNA vaccine adds a new piece of RNA to immune cells. These cells are good at destroying viruses, but it takes a while before they recognise such a virus (in this case the coronavirus). The RNA vaccine allows your immune cells to recognise the coronavirus earlier. This means that, in the future, your immune system is able to deal with it more rapidly and you don't get sick. These RNA techniques are new, and there has not yet been an RNA vaccine approved for any human disease.
- Pfizer has announced that people with HIV were also included in the Phase III study. A total of 196 participants had HIV.
- The effectiveness of this vaccine is 95%. This means it works in 95 out of 100 people. The vaccination consists of two shots.
- The EMA has approved the vaccine on the 21st of December 2020. The English leaflet can be found here. The leaflet states that this vaccine is studied in people with a well-treated HIV-infection. Additionally, the leaflet states that the vaccine might be less effective in people with a weakened immune system (possible caused by HIV). It is possible that the vaccine is less effective in people with a low CD4-count or AIDS.
- The MHRA (The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) has approved the vaccine. The United Kingdom started using this vaccine on 8 December. The information for recipients of the vaccine in the United Kingdom is now known. The leaflet sstates that the vaccination may not work as well for people with weakened immune systems, for example due to HIV. So, the vaccine may be less effective in people with AIDS, or people with a low CD4 count.
- The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Agency) has also approved the vaccine. The vaccine has been used in America since 14 December. The FDA document states that the data on vaccine safety for people with HIV has not yet been analysed. The data on vaccine safety for people with HIV is being analysed separately and will be published later on. HIV is not named as a contraindication in an FDA fact sheet.