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COVID-19 Vaccination Outcomes Among Patients with Dermatomyositis

July 8, 2022

Patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases are at an increased risk of developing COVID-19 and are highly encouraged to get vaccinated. However, there is significant vaccine hesitancy among these patients as those with autoimmune rheumatic diseases were excluded from initial COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. 

Rohit Aggarwal, MD, MS, professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, collaborated with colleagues from other institutions to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination among patients with dermatomyositis (DM) when compared to vaccinated patients.

Data for this retrospective cohort study was collected from TriNetX, a multicenter research database. Researchers analyzed 1-day anaphylaxis along with 30- and 60-day adverse events of special interest (AESI), breakthrough infection (BI), and all-cause hospitalization (ACH) following vaccination among two cohorts that each contained 6,103 participants.

Study results showed that DM patients did not have a difference in risk for immediate anaphylaxis at 1-day post-immunization and that absolute risk was minimal for DM patients at 0.4%. 

At 30 days post-vaccination, vaccinated DM patients did not experience a difference in risk for AESI, BI, or ACH compared to the control population. 

However, at 60 days post-vaccination, DM patients had a greater risk for AESI compared to controls with an absolute risk of 0.6%. There were no differences in risk for BI and ACH 60 days post-vaccination.

While the increase of AESI at 60 days post-vaccination calls for further analysis of the long-term impacts of vaccination in DM patients, the research ultimately suggests that the benefits of getting vaccinated greatly outweigh the risks of avoiding vaccination. 

It is the authors’ hope that rheumatologists and other health care providers use these findings to properly communicate the minimal risk associated with vaccination in autoimmune rheumatic disease patients, leading us closer to herd immunity from COVID-19. 


Pakhchanian H, Saud A, Raiker R, Kardes S, Aggarwal R, Gupta L. COVID-19 Vaccination Outcomes Among Patients with Dermatomyositis: A Multicentered Analysis. Clin Rheumatol. 2022 Jan 27:1–4. doi: 10.1007/s10067-022-06081-7. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35084602; PMCID: PMC8792517.