For a study, researchers sought to give rheumatology clinicians advice on administering COVID-19 vaccinations for rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) patients. A task team of 9 rheumatologists/immunologists, two infectious disease specialists, and two public health physicians was formed. Following agreement on scoping questions, an evidence report was developed that detailed the published literature and publicly available data on the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine and material on alternative vaccines in RMD patients. Using a modified Delphi approach and the RAND/University of California Los Angeles Appropriateness Method, task force members scored their agreement with draught consensus statements on a 9-point numerical scoring system, refinement, and iteration across two sessions. The distribution of scores was used to determine consensus. Despite the lack of direct evidence, the task force developed and agreed on statements to guide the use of COVID-19 vaccines in RMD patients, including supplemental/booster dosing and recommendations for the use and timing of immunomodulatory therapies around the time of vaccination. These guideline lines were intended to give rheumatic health care clinicians insight into how to appropriately employ COVID-19 vaccines and make immunization programs for RMD patients easier to implement.
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