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.
Questions about the corona vaccine and HIV
Please note: this article was last updated on April 22, 2021. We will add to this article as soon as there is news.
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 lower that you get COVID-19. The chance is also much smaller that you will have to be admitted to the hospital or pass away because of COVID-19. For the same reason for protecting themselves people get the flu jab, or travel vaccinations.
- You ensure that the chance is smaller that you can pass on the virus. When many people do not transmit the virus, the virus can no longer circulate properly. This means that we no longer have to take special measures in daily life, such as a (partial) lockdown. If you do not pass the virus on, you also indirectly protect others who cannot receive the vaccine (for example because they are allergic to one of the substances in the vaccine).
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.