Shielding after vaccination


Hi, I have rheumatoid arthritis and I am on Cimzia which supresses my immune system. I haven't had the vaccine yet, any day now!

Has anyone else had the vaccine yet and been told they need to shield until everyones had the vaccine? I saw something on this website that made me question how long I should shield. I rang a person on the versus arthritis helpline and they said I should shield until everyones had it as not enough research about the vaccines effectiveness with autoimmune drugs/conditions being done yet - understandably. I'm just really anxious that the whole country is going to be back to normal by June and I'll still have to his away, and people outside won't take it as seriously anymore.

Any advice welcome! Also please don't take my writing as 100% correct as I have had a small conversation with one person, not spoken to any health professionals - so please don't worry!!

Thanks 😊


  • Kitty
    Kitty Member Posts: 3,583

    Hello, I have RA and take MTX, Leflunomide and Prednisolone. I have been shielding since March 2020 and recently received a letter extending shielding until March 31st. I've had the first jab, Oxford AstraZeneca. Second one due in April. I haven't heard that we should shield until everyone has had the vaccine, just ubtil March 31st - but things could change as we will be contacted again mid March according to my letter.

    "Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." Robert A Heinlein

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,628

    Hi @RedPanda

    Welcome to the Versus Arthritis online Community.

    I see you have Rheumatoid Arthritis and take Cimzia. You are wondering how log you need to shield for?

    If you have had a letter from the Government advising you to shield you should follow their advice COVID-19 advice England (

    I see you are yet to receive your vaccine which makes you more vulnerable. I hope you get called very soon.

    Many of our members have not been defined as clinically extremely vulnerable but have chosen to shield themselves in order to feel safer and protect themselves from the virus.

    I will leave our members to tell you what they feel about the continued risk from Covid-19.

    Best wishes


  • RedPanda
    RedPanda Member Posts: 8

    Hi, thanks both. I got a letter back in March 2020 to advise shielding but said I could still go out just to avoid shops etc. I think that's classed as clinically vulnerable now - not extremely vulnerable.

    I've literally heard nothing else from my healthcare team other than when I rang my GP and the receptionist said that a message pops up saying I am vulnerable.

    I rang Versus Arthritis in January because of the following on the website:

    'Some people who are taking drugs that suppress the immune system may be given advice to continue avoiding exposure to COVID-19 after they have had the vaccination. This is because their medications could mean their immune system doesn't respond as strongly to the vaccine as people who don't take these drugs.'

    When I rang the lady said to continue shielding until everyones had it because they didn't know how effective the vaccine was going to be for people with my condition - could be 20% could be 98%.

    Maybe I should ring my rheumatology department to see what they've heard/know. Just feeling so drained seeing everyone celebrating about lockdown lifts and I'm not sure if I'll be joining them.

    Again please don't panic anyone, this has just been my experience and I am looking for clarity!

  • scotleag
    scotleag Member Posts: 84

    Shielding remains in place until Mar 31st but it's important to remember it's purely advisory. I've had my first vaccination but am still shielding (I do try to go out for exercise whenever possible but don't go into shops or use public transport or meet anyone, even socially distanced) My wife was vaccinated two weeks after me so we want it to be three weeks after her jab before we even think of doing anything else. That said I have two medical appointments coming up which I really can't afford to miss but the shielding advice says these should still be adhered to.

    I think if I hadn't had the vaccine yet I'd carry on shielding - regardless of official advice or dates - until three weeks after vaccination.

  • BettyMac
    BettyMac Member Posts: 202

    I’m also CEV and have had the official advice to carry on shielding until 31 March.

    I got my first dose of vaccine on 25 January and am assuming I’ll be called for a second dose at around the 12 week point.

    After the second dose it’ll take around another three weeks for my feeble immune system to crank itself up to give me the maximum possible protection that it can muster. I intend to carry on shielding until this point, whatever the government says.

    I think I have to face facts. The vaccine is not going to give me complete protection and I will still be at risk to the virus. If I catch it, I will probably still get Covid - albeit a less serious level of disease and, hopefully, not one which will land me in hospital!

    This is not going to be over any time soon. I suspect we will be getting regular boosters of the vaccine, like we do every year for seasonal flu. And hand hygiene, social distancing and masks are still going to be necessary for the near foreseeable

    Apologies for the doom and gloom. I’m not really feeling despondent - just trying to accept what I can’t change.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,423

    I agree with Bettymac and if you feel vulnerable continue being cautious.

    Time will tell data will emerge and then we'll know a lot more.

    Take care everyone

  • RedPanda
    RedPanda Member Posts: 8

    Thank you all for your comments 😊

    I got in touch with my rheumatology department and they were able to deal with my concerns. I think I just got a lot of conflicting messages so was stressing out! Feeling way better now with some light in the future 😄

    I'm going to wait for my vaccine and then once my husband is vaccinated too we will slowly return to the outside world once the government guidelines say we can.

    Thanks again for all your comments ❤️

  • MissA
    MissA Member Posts: 55

    I am considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable as have RA & am on Biologic Treatment which suppresses my immune system. I have just received an email today saying from 1st April I am no longer advised to shield. Whilst this is great news I will still be cautious & will keep my social circle to a minimum until the outcome of the studies being done about the vaccines effectiveness on immunosuppressed. I am starting to feel Less anxious now I’ve had my first AZeneca jab but am mindful I haven’t had the 2nd jab yet either. So I do see the light at the end of this tunnel but am tiptoeing towards it. Stay safe everyone the storm is easing.

  • Morgana87
    Morgana87 Member Posts: 3

    Hi all.

    I'm on sulfasalazine and cimzia injections. For my RA, I never received any letter to shield last year atall. But I literally only go a food shop once a week and that's it. Im 33 and was diagnosed back in Aug 2019.

    I received my first jag today.. It was completely fine not had any the headache side affects as yet.