COVID-19 Vaccine and IBD Patients

The big question these days is whether or not one should get the COVID-19 vaccine if you have Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. There is so much speculation and so many unanswered questions. The development, effectiveness, safety and distribution of the vaccine are all important things to consider. Below are some things to think about before deciding if receiving the vaccine is the right choice for you and your IBD.

Development and Safety

The FDA is responsible for the regulation of the COVID-19 vaccine; such as the safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality. According to the FDA, they “issue an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization), when the agency’s scientific experts have determined that the known and potential benefits of the vaccine outweigh its known and potential risks.” As of now, millions of doses of the 3 FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines have been given to United States citizens. 


IBD and the COVID-19 Vaccine

The 3 FDA-authorized vaccines do not contain live virus. This is imperative since it would be dangerous for someone with IBD because of their medications that weaken the immune system. The vaccine teaches your immune system to recognize and defend against the virus. If you are on immune-modifying therapies it is possible, but not known for sure, that the vaccine could be slightly less effective due to the medications weakening your immune system response. These would include corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and anti/TNF medications. However, the vaccines have been ruled safe for those with chronic inflammation of their digestive tract and there is currently no evidence that receiving the vaccine will cause a flare. It is important to talk to your doctor and come up with a vaccination plan for your needs!


Another big question that a lot of people have is, ‘Does the COVID-19 vaccine work?’ According to the FDA, “all three FDA-authorized vaccines are effective in preventing hospitalization and deaths from COVID-19 and may be given to any person eligible to receive the vaccine.” As of now, a few cases of anaphylaxis have been reported when people received the vaccine and had an allergic reaction to it. Due to the small chance of this occurring, most vaccination sites will have you wait to leave until 15-30 minutes after you received the vaccine so you can be monitored.

Slow the spread

COVID-19 vaccinations are becoming more widely available but there are other ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus besides getting vaccinated. IBD patients are encouraged to continue to practice social distancing by keeping 6 feet between yourself and others, as well as, continuing to wear a mask. Also, consistently washing your hands often and using hand sanitizer. Doing these things can help protect yourself, others who are not yet vaccinated, and against new strains of the virus.

Should you get the vaccine?

There is so much information out there about the vaccine; some credible, some not. If you are thinking about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine do your research! It is important to first, see if you qualify to get it, and second, talk to your doctor and make sure it is the right choice for you.

You can visit the CDC website for more information and to determine where in your state and local areas vaccines are available.



*Disclaimer: IBDassist is providing information and in no way influencing whether or not someone should receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We support the relationship between a healthcare provider and their patient. IBDassist always recommends talking to your doctor before making any medical decision.