COVID-19 FAQ #29: Can COVID-19 vaccinations trigger active myeloma?
Could Getting the Vaccine Trigger Myeloma Progression?
Continuing his COVID-19 FAQ, myeloma expert Dr. Brian G.M. Durie discusses if patients should be concerned about disease progression brought on by the vaccination.
The BOTTOM LINE:
There is no indication that COVID-19 vaccination triggers disease progression. Alert the doctor of your upcoming vaccination appointment. Monitor your myeloma closely after receiving the vaccination.
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This week’s “Ask Dr. Durie” is a very important question during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The question is: “Can taking the COVID-19 vaccination trigger the myeloma?”
And so, obviously, this is a very, very key question for anyone with myeloma, or even MGUS, or smoldering myeloma. And so, let me say right off is that, as of time, we have not seen any indication of active triggering with disease progression.
So, as you might expect with the immune reaction and the inflammation associated with the vaccine, we have seen some increases in immunoglobulin levels, free light chain levels, and occasional, very light trace increase in myeloma protein levels following the vaccination. However, those have subsided, and absolutely no indication of disease progression at this time. So, this is really, quite reassuring.
For each patient, it is very important to let your doctor know that you are getting the vaccination. And so, then everyone can be alert to the timing of the shots, and to set up the monitoring that is required.
I suggest careful monitoring monthly, for three months following the vaccination just to make sure nothing out of the ordinary is going on.
On the side of the IMF, we are very alert to this issue because of a natural concern that patients have. And so, on the InfoLine, and with support group leaders across the country, and even Dana Holmes on her private Facebook page for smoldering myeloma patients, everyone is really alert, and just be tracking to make sure that no issues are emerging.
And so, BOTTOM LINE: No problems have been seen thus far. But, please discuss your concerns with your doctor, and also, make sure the doctor is aware of your vaccination so you can be on the same page to track and make sure how your numbers are tracking in the months following.
Dr. Brian G.M. Durie serves as Chairman of the International Myeloma Foundation and serves on its Scientific Advisory Board. Additionally, he is Chairman of the IMF's International Myeloma Working Group, a consortium of nearly 200 myeloma experts from around the world. Dr. Durie also leads the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative®.