In this episode Clint shows the results of the survey that was done about the relationship between RA symptoms and COVID vaccine. These results have been presented in a study published in the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention.
It’s Clint here. First of all, a big thank you to everyone who participated in our survey that we did last August 2021. Where I sent an email out to our mailing list and asked whether or not people who have had the COVID vaccine have had an associated increase of symptoms after taking the vaccine. That has now been compiled into a manuscript and submitted and accepted by a medical journal. So what you’re looking at now on the screen, if you’re watching the video. In the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention, our publication, based on information that was gathered from you, our rheumatoid arthritis community called the Incidence Of Autoimmune Arthritis Disease Flare Following SARS COVID Vaccine to vaccination and its association with concurrent NSAID use. So what we did is we asked a bunch of questions on this particular survey, and the answers to those questions were then compiled and data analysis was run by Dr. Vidya Bharti and also Dr. Rachel Bailey, both PhD doctors. Together myself and Rachel Bailey put together the manuscript for submission. Now before I look at the results, I just want to say how fun this was because getting something published in the medical literature, it’s a buzz, it’s really cool because you feel like something you’ve done has been validated and contributes to the broader collective of information that exists to help other people learn more and to know more and build on that collective knowledge.
The last journal that I published was back in 1998, and I was studying laser physics or Optoelectronics actually specifically, and I published a paper when I was in my honors year at university called The Simultaneous Fabrication of Multiple Fibre Gratings using frequency-doubled copper vapor lasers. And that was a huge buzz back when I was in my early twenties, so it’s kind of fun for me to see that the topic is so vastly different, instead of staying in the optical fibre and high tech career. I lost my job due to the collapse of that industry in the year 2000 and went on to other things and ended up with the disease that’s taken me on this path. So what did we want to try and achieve? We just wanted to find out whether or not if you have the COVID vaccine, if you are likely to get more symptoms as a result. If you have psoriatic arthritis or lupus or ankylosing spondylitis or rheumatoid, and this is what we did. We did the survey and ran the stats. 1348 people filled out the survey. A massive thank you for participating. If you did participate, because it enabled us to gather this information and to cut to the chase so that you get the point straight away right here is that we found out that there was an association between getting the vaccine and then having a subsequent increase in symptoms. We can only use the word association, we can’t say it caused it because that can’t be proven. We can only say that patient reported association did exist.
To what extent? Well, I’ll cut to that chase as well. What we observed is that 21% of people in our survey reported experiencing an increase of inflammatory arthritis symptoms. That’s 21% and 14% indicated a possible mild flare or perhaps a little. And these reactions associated with the vaccine were reported by an ongoing 41% of participants. At the time of the survey they still had the symptoms that they reported increased as a result of the vaccine. Now what we also looked at is whether or not this was consistent with some other studies, and if you’re looking at the information on the screen, you’ll be able to see that actually, we didn’t put it into the results. I’m not looking at the full study here, I’m just looking at the summary. But what we found is this was considerably similar to other published results in this area of which there was only other two other sort of studies like this done. One study reported similar kind of numbers just a little bit less rather than 21%. And the other study which was actually put together by the nurses, not the patients, showed lower numbers. We found that interesting that when patients were telling it themselves, the reported incidents were higher compared to a different study where the data was being entered by someone else, in that case, a nurse practitioner.
Now, coming out of this study, besides the main information, which was there are about a 1 in 5 incidences of a reported increase in inflammation and that it tended to last in 40% of cases still with the patient after it’s happened. What we also found is that the incident of associated reactivity increased when people were taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or NSAIDs. Now, it wasn’t clear as to whether or not that was because they were taking nonsteroidal or whether or not the incidence of a vaccine-associated flare was because they had greater disease activity and therefore needed to take the NSAIDs. In that sense, what we would have benefited from greatly in the study is some inflammatory marker readings of CRP or ESR at the time of vaccination. What that would have then told us is that, oh, it’s not because they’re taking non-steroidal, it’s because they’re more inflamed, and therefore the association with the inflammation post-vaccine is greater. We don’t know that we weren’t able to find that information. We were also able to identify that it didn’t matter whether or not you had the different forms of inflammatory arthritis and whether or not you were more likely to have an inflammatory reaction. So someone with ankylosing spondylitis, we were not able to find any correlation that they are more likely to react than someone with rheumatoid. The limited number of people with ankylosing spondylitis who responded to the survey meant that this data was not as available as what we would have liked to explore further. So we saw no difference between the different inflammatory arthritis categories.
We also did not observe any difference in how long someone had had the condition, so someone who was newly diagnosed was not more likely to react to the vaccine negatively than someone who had had it for a very long time. And nor did we see any data of statistical significance associating the type of vaccine. So whether or not it was a Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca, or whatever. We did not see any correlation between one company type or branding of vaccine and an increase or a different outcome of the likelihood of inflammatory association post-vaccine.
In summary, what we’re able to show is that whilst there haven’t been many studies like this done before, all of which were survey-based. Ours showed a slightly higher incidence in associated post-vaccine inflammation of 21% of which an additional 14% said may be a little bit, and that for a large portion of people that inflammation was ongoing. This was slightly more than in other studies, especially one where nurses were reporting the post-vaccine inflammation. We were able to show an association with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use. And we were able to show no association with any of those other categories that I mentioned.
So whilst admittedly the push for vaccines has become more in the rear vision mirror now, as most people have been vaccinated. There is still a small percentage who haven’t been vaccinated, who are sitting on the fence and wondering about whether or not the vaccine could be something that they are still going to undertake. This information gives you the stats, again we surveyed 1348 people which is a sizeable and really valuable large number of people that have been surveyed. And I hope you find that really, really helpful.
I appreciate everyone for helping us put this together. As I said, it was a buzz for me, it enabled me to collaborate with some really smart people and get this published in this fabulous International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention. We don’t have any data on the booster because this was done before the boosters became rolled out more fully. And so people who have been surveyed in this particular study were either have undergone the first or both doses. So the participants were simply anyone who has had a reaction post-vaccine injection, whether it be first or second dose. I hope that’s helpful, and again, I’m very grateful to our community for helping me put this together. Perhaps we can do some other studies in the future. I’m once again just really thankful. So thanks a lot.