Covid Vaccine-getting it soon

I’ve done some further research. The Mayo Clinic’s website confirms neither the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are live vaccines. Obviously it doesn’t comment on the Oxford vaccine. But the Oxford vaccine uses a harmless weakened version of a common virus which causes a cold in chimpanzees. That’s then gentically modified so it doesn’t grow in humans, hence by deduction that’s not a live virus either. So now please let’s get rid of the ‘live vaccine’ nonsense and us lot being worried about that aspect.


I didn’;t think it was nonsense, I am repeating what I heard a Professor of Immunology say on the Jeremy Vine show on BBC RADIO 2, when one of the listeners asked whether or not the Oxford vaccine was a live vaccine and he replied that it was. Perhaps The Mayo Clinic know better.

My understanding is that the Oxford vaccine is made in the same way as our annual flu vaccines and they are not live vaccines. I had a discussion about the vaccines with my rheumatologist back at the beginning of December (her background pre-rheumatology is immunology) and she said none of the vaccines are live but the question mark over the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (and their suitability for rheumatology patients on DMARDS and biologics) is the inclusion of the RNA … all as @Poo_therapy says above. I’ll put my trust in my own rheumatologist on this not Radio 2.

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It’s tricky, isn’t it? My understanding is that none of them are truly live, but I have certainly heard radio announcers etc refer to some of them that way. I think there might be a bit of confusion about what a “live” vaccine actually is in the media / reporting community- and I think scientifically it’s a bit hard to communicate.

Certainly the traditional type of live viruses (eg the old polio virus), were actually a weakened, but alive, version of the polio virus itself. Sometimes there were major issues - like a few unfortunate people actually getting polio.

It sounds like these new ones are NOT an alive but weakened version of coronavirus, so definitely not a “live vaccine” in the traditional sense.

It seems though, that some use a different virus that’s not harmful to humans, that is still intact, even though it doesn’t have the ability to multiply in humans. That could be considered by some people to be live, depending on your definition of “live” for viruses. Which is actually an entire topic in itself because of the unique way viruses replicate.

That other, harmless virus then just has enough RNA from the coronavirus inserted in it so we can recognise and make antibodies rapidly in future. So the risks we traditionally associate with old types of “live” vaccines are not present.

It’s also important to remember that as well as difficulty communicating such complex concepts, presenters and speakers will have their own natural biases which may cause slip-of-the tongue even if it is unintentional.


Obviously there are mysteries that we don’t like to hear. We all want absolute clear cut science. Considering the fact that autoimmune diseases are themselves a mystery as to how they start, it’s no wonder that we don’t really know how those of us on the meds will react. And our reactions will be as varied as our symptoms. I know many here will think I am a loon but I still have wee suspicions about the flu vaccine being what triggered my psoriasis. Oh yes, it is a “dead” vaccine and can’t make you sick BUT I know many people who have flu symptoms for a few days after the influenza jab. I had never had a skin issue before but soon after I received the 2011 flu shot my psoriasis started…which led to the PsA issue now at hand. Did my body react to the flu shot? Who really knows. All we can do is hope in the integrity of the vaccine manufacturers and the ever changing science at hand. I don’t see many options but really want consistency in the “facts”. Jab me high and jab me low…!


Thanks for your further information Jen75 and Amos. I was a little worried about this vaccine being a “live” one, but it doesn’t sound as if it is. I appreciate what you are saying and I think you are right, there does seem to be a lot of mixed messages and information out there in the media. It is helpful in these worrying times, when I am sure many of us are scared, and we need kind helpful advice and information rather than sarcastic comments… I just hope that we all are able to be vaccinated quickly and safely and are able to fight this terrible virus. Thankyou again Jen75, I feel more hopeful now I have read your post.

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Just to be clear The oxford vaccine is different. The others use mRNA, or messenger RNA, whic is genetic material that contains instructions for making proteins. mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 contain synthetic mRNA. Inside the body, the mRNA enters human cells and instructs them to produce the “spike” protein found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The body recognizes the spike protein as an invader, and starts producing antibodies against it. Soon after, the cell breaks down the mRNA into harmless pieces If the antibodies later encounter the actual virus, they are ready to recognize and destroy it before it causes illness.

The oxford vaccine as has been noted uses modified DNA from chimpanzees which is non duplicate-able in the Human system. It is much more stable (doesn’t require refrigeration) The Rub is that because mRNA vaccines don’t use an actual virus for source materials, they can can be produced quickly. The Oxford uses a virus for its source material and as a result is produced at a much slower rate. ts NOT a live vaccine (few are anymore)

@Amos If I was a betting man (and BTW I am - I love the mathematics involved in Roulette) I would agree with you. ALL od us PsA patients have had some event that got things rocking and rolling. Its called the Koebner effect. Mine FWIW was a collapse of some scaffolding that fractured my back in a couple of spots. That being said if you are wired for PsA (il-6 is the most common) You would have gotten it anyway. Anything that insults the immune system will sooner or later get things rocking and rolling. My daughters Lupus was kicked off from stress during final exams during college. It could be as simple as a drop in cattle prices while you calf production is at auction…

In any event when it comes to vaccines, its my personal opinion that whatever the disease is that one is vaccinating against, its far worse than a PsA flare that will happen anyway just because


First shot this morning, so far its been fine. No issues or side effects. Just tired from a long weekend working the ICU. Just a normal injection. I’ll get my second the first week of February.


Also when I got the injection they gave me a QR code for a vaccine tracking site. They follow your experience and track side effects etc. I’m hoping they collect information about existing health conditions. My rheumy said they haven’t studied it in autoimmune patients. It would be great to contribute to the information about the vaccine in our population. Stay safe!


What I’ve read is just one injection provides 80%+ protection. There is some consideration in giving a single dose to more people more quickly to reduce transmission on a bigger scale could be a good alternative.


My rheumatologist said they didnt have a sample of autoimmune patients in the studies and she was recommending holding off. In my case as a Respiratory Therapist working Covid ICU the benefits outweighed the risk.


In the US they aren’t live. They have the RNA from just the spike protein and cannot infect you. The issues i believe are: allergies and immune response. I got Pfizer. I have also heard it works well with the new variant that has come from the UK, the more infectious covid strain.

Unfortunately, the patients i have been seeing these last couple of weeks are sicker than before and some pass quickly. :disappointed:


Looks like we in Australia will generally get the AstraZeneca vaccine (frontline workers and nursing homes to get Pfizer).

Not at all sure how I feel about that. The efficacy rate is much lower than the others (and lots of questions about it, so let’s estimate 70%), so we are going to need almost all of the population vaccinated to prevent waves, and even then, I wouldn’t feel too confident if I was in the high risk category (over 70 plus high blood pressure- that’s my mum). I really don’t see how we are supposed to “reopen” to international travellers unless we keep the quarantine in place.

At 70% efficacy, it seems like it will be a bit of a no-mans land. And don’t even get me started on the trials issues with AstraZeneca. I’m generally very comfortable with vaccines, but it really was a bit of a messed up process.

I think the overall saving grace in Australia is that we are usually pretty comfortable with vaccines, so the take up rate is likely to be better than most places.

I must admit though, I might want to see if an antibody test is available after being vaccinated, so I know if I’m the 70%, or the other 30%!!

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They’ve changed the dosing process @Jen75 of the Oxford Astra Zeneca one - or at least they have in the UK. They now give a smaller first dose and bigger second dose and apparently the end result is around 90% effectiveness, instead of the initial 70%. The downside to all this is of course that the coverage for the first dose is lower and us lot in the UK have to wait 12 weeks for the second dose. So that means still being ‘lockdown’ until around 14 days after the second dose.

I’m sure that dosing structure is what will happen in Australia too surely?

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I sure hope so, but the government haven’t clarified. And we aren’t in an emergency, so I’m actually not 100% sure the low numbers in the subset trial of the half dose will get through our federal drug administration.

Also I’m no medical statistician, but if I was analysing that number of points for the type of work I do, I’d consider the 90% estimate to have pretty low confidence. If I read their paper right, they give a range of between 67·4–97·0, but I’m really not sure I’m reading it right. Maybe I need @tntlamb to come in with his cape and reassure me :joy:.

Suspect I’m just not as optimistic at the moment as I usually would be due to other events in my life - I can’t seem to catch a break with my guts at the moment!

And of course I’m only reporting what I heard 'the news ’ say about the dosing structure too. But there was an issue in the UK about the 60 odd percentage of the Oxford one and that what was said about it. My atenna is on ‘high alert’ on anything to do with vaccines. :joy: But it was by the only Health journalist I respect presently too which is the BBC’s main one whose name escapes me just right now

Obviously presently in the UK, the race is on to just vaccinate as many people with any of the three vaccines as fast as possible. At least every one of them affords ‘some’ protection and the population so desperately requires that. I’m reassured that for us lot, rheumies up and down the country aren’t concerned about us getting any of the vaccines. It’s simply a case that people get whichever one is available at their local centre. The Moderna one isn’t available to the UK until later in the Spring.

But my partner’s father aged over 80 has already received his first Pfizer dose and is getting his second tomorrow as he’s escaped the 12 week waiting gap. Having someone that close to me getting vaccined is incredibly reassuring emotionally if nothing else. And he’s a fit as a fiddle too. Fitter than me that’s for sure.

All these new variants being more transmissable are seriously causing us in the UK significant NHS issues, plus even more sadly exponential deaths. It’s like a horror movie made of Groundhog Day just right now.

Here’s something on all three vaccines from the BBC today. It doesn’t though reassure as to the Oxford one but might be useful in helping people understand. Which Covid vaccine is better Pfizer v Oxford v Moderna - BBC News.html (221.5 KB) Hope it works.

I’m so sorry you’re not catching a break from your guts. That must be so wearing, frustrating and concerning. Cyber hugs on that one.

Thanks Poo, yes it is coming up 16 months now, with just a couple of solid months of improvement October-November before backsliding again in the last 6 weeks, so wearing is exactly the word I use for it.

Oh well, plenty of experience with Chronic disease, if only I could make my millions off all that knowledge! Though I’ll settle for being helpful, and I’ll keep trying at that :grin::crossed_fingers:. I hear it’s better for my health anyway :joy::joy:

I do hear sometimes about the truly difficult situation in the UK (and gather South Africa and much of the US are in trouble too - even though the variant hasn’t yet taken hold in the US). Mostly, I must admit, I try not to see too many details because I find it pretty gut wrenching. I’m so glad they are at least getting the vaccines rolled out as quickly as possible there in the UK - I hope the take up is good and it starts to help soon.

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And on top of that they are throwing away many vials of unused vaccine which just makes me sick to my stomach.

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Just got my second dose yesterday. Had my normal check in with Rheumy today. Again, discussed that the vaccine just helps you survive…doesn’t actually mean that you can’t transmit it or - because of immune suppressant drugs - get it. Still have to wear a mask. Still avoid people not wearing masks. While it is true that no immune compromised people were in trials, there are going to be a ton of info coming down the pike now that we are getting vaccinated.

Most folks have run a fever after the second dose but I am 24 hrs. post and just a bit more tired than usual.

It helps me feel that I might not die if I get it. If there is a flu virus that goes around the office, I am the one that gets sicker then anyone and always miss work, so I am happy this might mean I don’t get terrible symptoms.


I am in Canada and my Rheumy is not recommending it due to lack of study on people with compromised immune systems due to meds. I am wondering…is anyone thinking, like me, about going off the biologics for a month or two when the time comes so that I can take the vaccine? Thoughts on doing this?