covid vaccine

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis in October 2020 and throughout the pandemic, I have not received a shielding letter I'm guessing because I've only recently had the diagnosis ( I'm taking methotrexate and steroids).

Does this mean that there will be a delay with me receiving the vaccine?


  • Hi Aching_not_breaking,

    Thank you for posting on the Helpline forum. I am sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is a concerning time for people who have medical conditions.  If you’re not sure that the NHS has the right information about your COVID-19 risk level and have further concerns, we recommend speaking to your rheumatology team and GP. We are not medically trained. Not receiving a shielding letter shouldn’t delay your covid-19 vaccine. You may be clinically vulnerable rather than clinically extremely vulnerable.

    The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has produced some advice on the COVID-19 vaccine, which says that those at increased risk of COVID-19 should be in the priority groups for vaccination. This includes people on immuno-suppressant drugs. All of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the UK are safe for people with arthritis and people taking drugs that suppress the immune system. This  includes Methotrexate and steroids. You can read more about this on our information below.  

    If at any point you would like to talk about your arthritis informally and in confidence, you are welcome to call our Free Helpline on 0800 5200 520 weekdays 9am – 8pm.

    I hope this is of some help.

    Best wishes,

    Fiona, Helpline Advisor