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Jeffrey Curtis, MD: Updates to the ACR COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Guidance

Chair of the ACR COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Guidance Task Force, Jeffrey Curtis, discusses the newest vaccine recommendations amid the Omicron variant.

Last week, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) announced its updated version of COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Guidance for Patients with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases.

The Chair of the ACR COVID-19 Clinical Guidance Task Force, Jeffrey Curtis, MD, MS, elaborated on the current recommendations for rheumatologists regarding third and fourth vaccine doses, booster doses, updated protocol for monoclonal antibody treatment, and treatment schedules for patients on immunosuppressant medications.

Above all else, Curtis emphasized the importance of having conversations with patients about the details of their vaccination status. He acknowledged that there's a portion of patients who are still unvaccinated, but more so, there's a population of patients who are undervaccinated, and they need guidance.

"One of the most important messages is that rheumatologists, heretofore, probably were just asking patients, have you been vaccinated?" Curtis said. "And maybe, with what? And hopefully, when? But now, it's gotten more complicated. Now it's, what dose are you on and when were you vaccinated most recently?"

From a patient perspective, a clear guideline to follow is especially crucial for some who are taking certain medications or immunosuppressant treatments since their vaccine response is likely weaker as a result.

"The rheumatology provider can then provide some counsel on when you should go get your next dose with the goal of optimizing response," he added.