Guidance statements address precautions for individuals on certain medications when in contact with others not vaccinated against COVID-19 or whose vaccination status is unknown, along with guidance regarding antibody testing to assess immunity or inform medical decisions.
Portland, Oregon – June 1, 2021
In mid-May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new public health recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals. These guidelines stated that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by law, business policy or workplace guidance.
In response, the NPF COVID-19 Task Force has updated their guidance statements to provide additional clarity for people living with psoriatic disease.
Since patients with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis may be taking medications that affect the immune system in a manner that may increase the risk of infections, they may not be fully protected even if fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Thus, out of an abundance of caution, and until more data emerge, NPF recommends that patients with psoriatic disease taking abatacept, cyclosporine, leflunomide, glucocorticoids (e.g., prednisone), methotrexate, or tofacitinib continue masking and social distancing precautions1 when they are in contact with people not vaccinated against COVID-19 or whose vaccination status is not verifiable.
Furthermore, the NPF Task Force advises against antibody testing to assess immunity after COVID-19 vaccination or to inform medical decision making related to individual precautions. Currently, the accuracy of antibody testing to predict protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 illness is not known. The Task Force advises those concerned about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines to refer to guidance 4.10 and 5.2.
“The NPF COVID-19 Task Force is excited about the release of the new CDC guidelines,” said Joel M. Gelfand, M.D., MSCE, Professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Co-Chair of the NPF COVID-19 Task Force. “It’s important to emphasize that the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, especially by dramatically lowering the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and death, as well as reducing the ability of a vaccinated person to spread the virus. While emerging data suggest that some more broadly immune targeted treatments, such as methotrexate, may slightly reduce the antibody response to COVID-19 vaccines, patients on these treatments should still get vaccinated as they likely still provide protection from severe COVID-19 illness. Our recommendations are out of an abundance of caution until we have more data. While we await more research, the best way to prevent COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and if there is reason to be concerned that you might not have an optimal vaccine response due to the medications you are taking for psoriatic disease, then continue to mask and distance when you are in contact with people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.”
The National Psoriasis Foundation launched its COVID-19 Task Force in May 2020, charged to identify critical needs for the psoriatic disease community and to serve as an expert resource to the organization in an advisory capacity. The Task Force is comprised of physicians with expertise in dermatology, rheumatology, infectious disease, and critical care, in addition to fellows and NPF staff.
“The incredible NPF Task Force continues to support our community by providing thoughtful and timely recommendations,” said Stacie Bell, Ph.D., Chief Scientific and Medical Officer for the National Psoriasis Foundation. “As we move forward into the new normal, NPF will continue to provide evidence-based guidance for those living with psoriatic disease.”
The Foundation continues to closely monitor the evolving situation. The Task Force encourages the psoriatic disease community to receive the first vaccine offered to them, adhere to public health guidelines, and consult with a health care provider if infected with SARS-CoV-2. For more information, visit the NPF COVID-19 Resource Center.
 How to Protect Yourself and Others, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. March 8, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
About the National Psoriasis Foundation
Serving its community through more than 50 years of patient support, advocacy, research, education and funding, the National Psoriasis Foundation, NPF, is the world’s leading nonprofit fighting for individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The NPF mission is to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and dramatically improve the lives of more than 8 million individuals in the United States affected by this chronic immune-mediated disease. As part of that effort, NPF created its Patient Navigation Center to offer personalized assistance to everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. To date, NPF has funded more than $24 million in research grants and fellowships that help drive discoveries that may lead to more and better treatments and ultimately a cure. Learn more at psoriasis.org