OBJECTIVES: To evaluate humoral and cellular immune responses and adverse events (AEs) after COVID-19 vaccination in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) compared to healthy controls (HC), and disease activity following vaccination in patients with pSS.
METHODS: 67 patients with pSS and 33 HC (ratio 2:1) received COVID-19 vaccinations following the Dutch vaccination programme. Patients with pSS did not use immunomodulatory drugs, except hydroxychloroquine. Anti-spike 1 receptor binding domain IgG serum antibody levels were measured 28 days after complete vaccination. AEs were collected 7 days after vaccination. In a subgroup, salivary anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and T-cell response by interferon-γ enzyme-linked immune absorbent spot was measured.
RESULTS: 47 patients with pSS (70%) and 14 HC (42%) received BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNtech), 13 (19%) and 5 (15%) received ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AstraZeneca), 6 (9%) and 8 (24%) received mRNA-1273 (Moderna), and 1 (1%) and 6 (18%) received Ad.26.COV2.S (Janssen). All participants had positive anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels (>2500 AU/mL) postvaccination. No differences in anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels were observed between patients with pSS and HC, for each vaccine type. Salivary anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies also increased, and a T-cell response was observed in patients with pSS and HC. Frequencies of systemic AEs were comparable between patients with pSS and HC (first vaccination: 34/67 (51%) vs 16/33 (48%), p=0.83; second: 41/66 (62%) vs 14/25 (56%), p=0.59). No significant worsening was observed in patient-reported and systemic disease activity, including auto-antibodies.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with pSS had similar humoral and cellular immune responses as HC, suggesting COVID-19 vaccination is effective in patients with pSS. AEs were also comparable, and no increase in disease activity was seen in patients with pSS.