Arthritis New Zealand is urging all people who have any form of arthritis to become vaccinated as soon as they can.

“We know from community feedback that people want to be vaccinated but some are concerned about possible effects of the vaccine. Their prime concern is their safety given the medications they are taking for their arthritis,” said Arthritis New Zealand CEO Philip Kearney.

“We have conferred with rheumatologists who are very clear that the benefits of vaccination outweigh all other considerations,” commented Mr Kearney.

Professor Nicola Dalbeth, Specialist Rheumatologist and President of the New Zealand Rheumatology Association said it is important that people with arthritis are protected from COVID-19, and vaccination is the best approach we have.

Commenting in a recent video clip made for Arthritis New Zealand, Professor Dalbeth noted “We know from overseas studies that people who are on certain immunosuppressive medications that are used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are at higher risk of severe illness if they do get infected with the novel coronavirus.

“We also know from large studies that have been done overseas and also from our clinical experience in New Zealand, that flares of arthritis after the vaccine are uncommon and similar to the natural rate of flares in un-vaccinated patients,” she said.

Another concern for patients with arthritis is the query, – is the vaccine safe to take with the medications they are prescribed for arthritis? The answer is yes.

For most arthritis medications, no changes are needed. There are a couple of exceptions when the timing of medications or vaccination is best changed to maximise the immune response to the vaccine – check with your prescribing Doctor.

Those wanting extra reassurance can join the Arthritis New Zealand online support groups on Facebook to see how others with the same condition have found vaccination to be straightforward and trouble-free.

Given this information Arthritis New Zealand has no hesitation in encouraging people with all forms of arthritis (and people they live with) to get vaccinated and help New Zealand reach high levels of vaccination.

World Arthritis Day is on October 12th. Let’s mark the day by having people with arthritis who have not yet been vaccinated, making an appointment so that people with arthritis can give themselves the best protection possible against the novel coronavirus. To book your appointment, go to

For further information from Prof Dalbeth please initially contact

Francesca Holloway



For further comment from Arthritis New Zealand the contact person is

Philip Kearney


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