A New Consideration for Corticosteroid Injections: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19) Vaccination

January 14, 2022

A study recently published in The Journal of Hand Surgery to discuss corticosteroid injections was conducted by several orthopaedic experts including UPMC Orthopaedic Care physician Robert Kaufmann, MD.

Corticosteroid injection (CSI) is a commonly used tool in hand surgery that is often given little consideration as a potential detriment to vaccination efficacy.

Highly effective vaccines for the prevention of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection are now available to the public. However, recent data have demonstrated decreased vaccine efficacy among immunocompromised populations, such as those who have undergone solid organ transplants, those with hematologic malignancies, and those undergoing chemotherapy. This raises the concern that the immunosuppressive effects of corticosteroids (CS) might also result in decreased coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine efficacy, although no study has been published on this topic yet.

In this study, physicians reviewed guidelines issued by relevant societies for the timing of CSI around the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 vaccination period and the evidence used to support them.

Ultimately, providers and patients should be adequately educated on the theoretical risks and benefits before proceeding with CSI immediately before, during, or immediately after coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination.

The article recommends avoiding corticosteroid injection two weeks before and after vaccination.

Read more about this study on PubMed.

Collaborators not affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh:

Ian Powelson
LAC+USC Medical Center

Natasha Chida, MD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Jaimie Shores, MD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine