Patients with rheumatic disease may mount a suboptimal serologic response to COVID-19 vaccination. We evaluated predictors of low antibody response in a clinic-based cohort.
We conducted a cross-sectional study using electronic health record (EHR) data at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. Patients with systemic rheumatic disease that had SARS-CoV-2 spike antibody (Ab) tested using the Roche Elecsys immunoassay, February-August 2021, after 2 doses of mRNA vaccine or 1 dose of adenovirus vector vaccine were identified. Demographics, systemic rheumatic disease, vaccination dates, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) were extracted. The primary outcome was low spike Ab (≤ 200 U/mL). Logistic regression models estimated predictors of low spike Ab.
Among 382 patients, the mean age was 57 years, 77% were female, and 37% had low spike Ab. Older age (OR 1.03, 95% CI [1.02, 1.05]), SLE (OR 4.81 [2.08, 8.43], reference: inflammatory arthritis), prednisone (OR 1.67 [1.03, 2.74]), and rituximab (OR 22.91 [9.85, 53.29]) were significantly associated with higher odds of low spike Ab. Use of csDMARD monotherapy (OR 0.12 [0.04, 0.33]) and JAK inhibitors (OR 0.41 [0.18, 0.92]) were associated with significantly lower odds for low spike Ab. After adjusting for systemic rheumatic disease and DMARDs, SLE and rituximab remained significantly associated with low spike Ab.
Over a third of patients with systemic rheumatic disease with spike Ab tested in routine care had low spike Ab after 2 doses of mRNA or 1 dose of adenovirus vector COVID-19 vaccine. SLE and rituximab were significant risk factors for low spike Ab.
• More than one-third of patients with systemic rheumatic disease that had spike Ab tested in routine care had low spike Ab after 2 doses of mRNA or 1 dose of adenovirus vector COVID-19 vaccine. • Diagnosis of SLE, use of prednisone, and use of rituximab were significantly associated with greater odds of low spike antibodies. • These data underscore the importance of additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine and prophylactic Evusheld in immunosuppressed patients with systemic rheumatic disease as recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control.