We provide rheumatology services at University Hospital Lewisham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and in the Lewisham Community.
Please click on the appropriate link below to find further information:
Update 11 January 2021: Covid-19 information for rheumatology patients
Shielding and vaccination advice
In light of the Covid-19 lockdown announced on 4 January 2021, many patients are asking whether or not they should shield and whether or not they should have the Covid-19 vaccine. The information below aims to answer some of your queries.
Who should shield?
Anyone who was advised to shield by their GP in the March 2020 outbreak should now begin shielding again.
If you are unsure, or your circumstances or medications have changed since then, please review the South East London Rheumatology patient Covid-19 risk stratification guide below. This will help you decide what your risk is and whether you should be shielding.
Everyone is asked to follow the current government guidelines of social distancing, wearing a mask and good hand hygiene.
Flu and pneumonia vaccines
Flu and pneumonia vaccines are recommended for all rheumatology patients receiving immunosuppressant medications, and especially recommended for those receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.
Three vaccines have been authorised for use in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency: Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna. It is anticipated that other vaccines will also become authorised over time.
All three vaccines give very high protection against severe Covid-19 disease and have good safety profiles. There is no preference over which vaccine you should have and you should take whichever vaccine is offered to you.
Should immunosuppressed patients be vaccinated?
Yes. Clinically extremely vulnerable people are at high risk of severe illness from Covid-19 and all are in a clinical risk group which should receive the vaccine.
The Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are recommended for patients on immunosuppressive medications. Some immunosuppressed patients may experience a lower immunological response to either vaccine but the benefits are still worthwhile.
Covid-19 vaccines: s hould rheumatology treatment be paused or changed for vaccination?
Where possible, Covid-19 vaccines should be given four weeks or more before rituximab is given, or if rituximab has been recently given then a covid-19 vaccine should be given six months after the last infusion. If you have any concerns, please speak to your rheumatology team.
All other immunosuppressive medications
These should be continued as prescribed.
Help and advice
If you need further rheumatology specific advice please contact:
For University Hospital Lewisham patients:
020 8333 3000 Ext 8356
For Queen Elizabeth Hospital patients:
020 8836 6932