BACKGROUND: The vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) approved in the European Union represent a decisive step in the fight against the pandemic. The application of these available vaccines to patients with pre-existing immunological conditions leads to a multitude of questions regarding efficacy, side effects and the necessary patient information.
RESULTS: This review article provides insight into mechanisms of action of the currently available severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines and summarises the current state of science as well as expert recommendations regarding tolerability of the vaccines. In addition, the potential to develop protective immune responses is determined. A special focus is given on patients under immunosuppression or in treatment with immunomodulatory drugs. Special groups of the population such as children, pregnant women and the elderly are also considered.
CONCLUSION: Despite the need for a patient-specific risk-benefit assessment, the consensus among experts is that patients with immunological diseases in particular benefit from the induced immune protection after COVID-19 vaccination and do not have an increased risk of side effects.