The following is the summary of “COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Among Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in the American Midwest: The Lupus Midwest Network (LUMEN)” published in the  November 2022  issue of Rheumatology By Chevet, et al.

In 2019, patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) had an increased chance of experiencing severe complications due to coronavirus infection (COVID-19). Unfortunately, researchers don’t know the immunization rate of such patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of SLE in patients who had received the COVID-19 vaccination. about 42 SLE patients from the Lupus Midwest Network (LUMEN) and 350 healthy controls were compared across age, gender, race/ethnicity, and county. The rate of vaccination against influenza, pneumococcal, and zoster diseases was evaluated prior to the implementation of pandemic restrictions (until February 29, 2020). 

The number of people who received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination was retrieved electronically and counted by hand (December 15, 2020, to July 31, 2021). Researchers compared demographics, SLE symptoms, medications, the Charlson Comorbidity Index, the Area Deprivation Index, and the Rural-Urban Commuter Area codes, and the time it took to get vaccinated against COVID-19. By the end of the year 2021 (July 31), 83.3% of SLE patients and 85.5% of controls had received the COVID-19 vaccine. SLE and comparison groups had similar vaccination rates against COVID-19 (hazard ratio 0.93, 95% CI 0.79-1.10).

Patients who did not receive routine vaccinations for influenza and pneumococcal disease were more likely to be male (27.3% vs. 14.1%), younger (mean age 54.1 vs. 58.8 yrs), and to have a shorter duration of SLE (median 7.3 vs. 10.7 yrs). The immunization rates for COVID-19 among SLE patients in the Lupus Midwest Network were similar to those of their matched comparisons, with most patients opting for vaccination as soon as it became available. Only about 1 in 6 people with SLE have really been immunized.