COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of medicine, with the field of rheumatology being no exception. Although it is less common for a rheumatologist to manage critically ill COVID-19 patients directly, they face many questions from the frontline healthcare workers. At the beginning of the pandemic, numerous inquiries about managing rheumatic medications from primary care physicians and patients flooded the rheumatologist’s office. As with every new disease, there was a paucity of data, lack of clear understanding, and guidance causing confusion and anxiety amongst the physician community and vulnerable population about managing rheumatic medications. The medical fraternity took the challenge head-on. Significant progress has been achieved within a relatively short period in understanding and tackling COVID-19, and rheumatologists were able to provide provisional recommendations about managing rheumatic medications. More recently, with the rolling out of COVID-19 vaccines, rheumatologists are again faced with questions from patients as to whether it is safe to take vaccines while on immunosuppressive medications. New challenges and questions continue to emerge in the form of COVID-19 sequalae, vaccine efficacy/ availability and sustained immunity. This short review tries to touch upon facts about COVID-19, provide interim guidance about managing rheumatic medications, highlight areas of uncertainties, and discuss vaccination.
Published Date: 2021-01-07; Received Date: 2020-12-15