COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Facts for Patients with Comorbid Diseases

The COVID-19 vaccination program is still being carried out around the world. However, there are still many issues regarding the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine for people with comorbid diseases. The question is, is the COVID-19 vaccine safe to give to people with comorbid diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension?

Patients with comorbid diseases are one of the groups with a high risk of being infected with the Corona virus. If exposed to COVID-19, it is very likely that people with comorbid diseases will experience more severe symptoms, require intensive care, and are even more at risk of death.

Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines for Patients with Comorbid Diseases

Given the higher risk of death and dangerous complications in patients with comorbid diseases with COVID-19, it is important to administer the COVID-19 vaccine for people with chronic or comorbid diseases.

This is to prevent complications or severe symptoms in the group, if exposed to COVID-19.

Here are the facts about the safety of each COVID-19 vaccine used worldwide for people with comorbid illnesses:

1. Sinovac Vaccine

The Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine is a vaccine containing the Corona virus that has been weakened or killed (inactive virus).

So far, the Association of Internal Medicine Specialists has stated that the Sinovac vaccine is considered safe and may be given to patients who have certain comorbid diseases, including:

  • Chronic lung disease, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or interstitial lung disease (ILD).
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • HIV infection, provided that the patient’s CD4 level is above 200 cells/mm3 and the patient is in good health
  • Psychosomatic disorders
  • Lung cancer
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease

2. AstraZeneca Vaccine

The AstraZeneca vaccine is a vaccine containing a genetically modified biosynthetic virus (viral vector) from the influenza virus. Based on the results of current clinical trials, the AstraZeneca vaccine is also declared safe and recommended to be given to people with comorbid diseases, such as:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Heart disease
  • Circulatory disease
  • Lung disease
  • Obesity

The AstraZeneca vaccine was hit by various issues, namely the risk of blood clots that are dangerous for people with cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart disease.

In fact, the Association of Indonesian Cardiovascular Specialists (PERKI) does not prohibit the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people with cardiovascular disease, as long as the comorbid disease suffered by the patient is well controlled.

Although there are indeed cases of blood clots after administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, these cases are very rare and the death rate from this is also very low. The relationship between blood clotting cases and the COVID-19 vaccine is still being studied further.

In addition, research conducted in several countries, such as the UK, America, and Europe also states that the AstraZeneca vaccine is classified as safe for patients with comorbid diseases. Compared to the risk of side effects of the vaccine, the benefits in preventing COVID-19 are still considered to be greater.

3. Sinopharm Vaccine

Similar to the Sinovac vaccine, the Sinopharm vaccine also contains the inactivated Corona virus. So far, the WHO has stated that the Sinopharm vaccine may be given to people with HIV.

However, further research is still needed to ensure the safety of the Sinopharm vaccine for people with other comorbid diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Therefore, the administration of the Sinopharm vaccine is currently still focused on healthy people over 16 years old or in patients whose comorbid diseases have been controlled and the patient is declared to be able to receive the vaccine by a doctor.

4. Moderna Vaccine

The Moderna vaccine is an mRNA (messenger RNA) COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine uses a component of genetic material that will stimulate the immune system to produce spike proteins for the Corona virus.

To date, based on the results of phase 3 clinical trials, the Moderna vaccine has also been declared safe and useful to be given to people with comorbid diseases, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • HIV
  • Kidney illness
  • liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD
  • Obesity

5. Pfizer Vaccine

Just like the Moderna vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine is also an mRNA-type COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer Phase 3 vaccine clinical trial states that this vaccine is safe to be given to people with comorbid diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, HIV, kidney or liver disorders, and chronic lung disease.

mRNA vaccines such as the Pfizer vaccine are also said to be safe for patients with autoimmune disorders, such as lupus. However, this still requires further research.

6. Novavax Vaccine

Novavax vaccine is a vaccine that contains a protein subunit that is made to resemble the natural protein of the Corona virus. This vaccine has passed phase 3 clinical trials in Europe, Australia and America. From these data, the COVID-19 vaccine is declared safe and useful in patients with comorbid diseases, such as HIV, diabetes, and hypertension.

Until now, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia through BPOM is still evaluating to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the Novavax vaccine, before issuing a permit for its use in Indonesia.

7. Red and White Vaccine

The Red and White Vaccine is a vaccine developed by a combination of several institutions and institutions in Indonesia. This vaccine contains important parts of the Corona virus that can stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies to fight the Corona virus.

The Red and White vaccine is still in the development stage, so its safety and benefits for patients with comorbid diseases are still unknown.

Conditions for Giving COVID-19 Vaccines for Patients with Comorbid Diseases

Regardless of the type of vaccine, generally patients with comorbid diseases may receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they meet the following requirements:

  • Patients with comorbid diseases have consulted a doctor before receiving the vaccine.
  • The comorbid disease had been controlled with medication prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Has received approval to vaccinate against COVID-19 from the treating doctor.
  • Patients with comorbid disease are not experiencing COVID-19, both with and without symptoms. To be sure, patients can undergo an antigen test or PCR before undergoing vaccination.

In addition to vaccinating against COVID-19, people with comorbid diseases must also implement strict health protocols as a form of prevention against Corona virus infection.

The COVID-19 health protocols that need to be implemented include wearing masks when traveling outside the house or meeting other people, washing hands with water and soap, avoiding crowds, and maintaining a physical distance of at least 1 meter from other people.

Getting to Know Convalescent Plasma Therapy for COVID-19

Convalescent plasma therapy is one of the treatment methods currently used to treat COVID-19 patients, especially those with severe symptoms. This treatment is known to increase the chances of recovery of COVID-19 patients.

Convalescent plasma therapy is the administration of donor blood plasma or donations from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 (COVID-19 survivors) to COVID-19 patients.

In the blood plasma, there are antibodies that appear in response to the body when infected with a virus or bacteria, including the Corona virus. With enough antibodies, viruses or bacteria that cause disease can be eradicated.
Goals of Convalescent Plasma Therapy

The use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of a disease has been carried out for a long time. For COVID-19, various studies so far have proven that convalescent plasma therapy can be used as a treatment, especially in patients who experience severe symptoms.

The benefits that can be obtained from convalescent plasma therapy in COVID-19 patients include:

  • Accelerate healing and recovery
  • Relieve symptoms experienced, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or fever
  • Prevent complications and reduce disease severity
  • Reduce the risk of death

Criteria for COVID-19 Patients Recipient of Convalescent Plasma Therapy

Convalescent plasma therapy can indeed be used in COVID-19 patients, but not in every case. This therapy is aimed at COVID-19 patients aged at least 18 years who experience severe symptoms or are in critical condition and are undergoing treatment in a hospital.

In addition, convalescent plasma therapy can also be considered for moderately symptomatic COVID-19 patients who have comorbid diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or a weakened immune system.

COVID-19 patients who are self-isolating with mild or no symptoms do not need this therapy. In addition, convalescent plasma therapy also cannot be performed on healthy people to replace the function of the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine should be delayed for at least 90 days in people who have received convalescent plasma therapy.

Convalescent Plasma Therapy Donor Criteria

Just like recipients, donors of convalescent plasma therapy also have special criteria. COVID-19 survivors who wish to donate blood plasma must meet the following criteria:

  • 18–60 years old
  • Have a positive history of COVID-19 in the last 3 months
  • In good health and has been declared cured of COVID-19 for at least 14 days
  • Preferably male or female who have never been pregnant
  • Have a minimum weight of 55 kg
  • No history of blood transfusion in the last 6 months
  • In good health and do not have any blood-borne diseases, such as hepatitis or HIV/AIDS
  • Have sufficient levels of Corona virus antibodies
  • Have a blood type that matches the recipient

If you meet the various requirements above, you are declared eligible to donate your blood. By becoming a convalescent plasma blood donor, you can help save someone’s life.

Convalescent Plasma Therapy Procedure

Prior to convalescent plasma donors, COVID-19 survivors who have met the above criteria need to undergo a screening process, in the form of a blood test and rapid antigen or PCR, as well as other examinations, such as measurement of height, weight, blood pressure, and hemoglobin examination. .

After being declared eligible, the donor will be asked for his consent to donate blood. Then, the doctor or health worker will perform the procedure for collecting convalescent plasma donors using an apheresis machine. This procedure usually takes approximately 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, the stages of administering convalescent plasma to COVID-19 patients are as follows:

Before the procedure

Before performing convalescent plasma therapy, the doctor or nurse will prepare the necessary equipment, such as needles, infusion tubes, and convalescent plasma bags according to the patient’s blood type.

During the procedure

the doctor or nurse will clean and sterilize the skin area of ​​the arm, where the needle will be inserted, with alcohol. After that, the needle is inserted into the vein, then glued with a plaster. The convalescent plasma therapy procedure will last approximately 1−2 hours. This procedure is generally similar to a blood transfusion.

After procedure

After undergoing convalescent plasma therapy, COVID-19 patients will continue to be monitored by doctors or nurses. It aims to monitor the patient’s condition after receiving convalescent plasma therapy.

During this therapy, the doctor may also give other medicines according to the patient’s needs, for example an antiviral for COVID-19, such as remdesivir or favipirapir.

Those are the conditions and procedures for covalent plasma therapy for COVID-19. Currently, convalescent plasma therapy is an effective treatment to increase the chances of recovery for COVID-19 patients with severe or critical symptoms.

Therefore, for COVID-19 survivors who meet the criteria to become blood plasma donors and wish to donate their blood, please register on the plasmakonvalesen.covid19.go.id website. Every drop of donated plasma will help save a life.

If you still have questions regarding convalescent plasma therapy or about COVID-19 disease, you can chat directly with the doctor on altmedi.top application. Through this application, you can also make a booking for a COVID-19 test and make an appointment for a consultation with a doctor at a hospital.