COVID-19 Information

Important information regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) for people who are living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, including those taking immunosuppressive medicines.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put together this information for people who are living with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis. This page is continually being reviewed to bring you the latest up to date information. The page was last updated on 16th April 2024.

Please use the menu below to navigate to the relevant information.

Spring 2024 COVID-19 vaccination campaign: eligibility & booking information

As of Monday 15th April 2024, the NHS national booking system will open for Spring 2024 COVID-19 vaccinations for those who are eligible.

Spring vaccinations will be available until 30 June 2024.

Spring 2024 booster eligibility

Following JCVI advice, eligibility for a spring vaccination is as follows:

  • Adults aged 75 years and over by 30 June 2024
  • Residents in care homes for older adults
  • Individuals aged 6 months and over who are immunosuppressed

How to book

Anyone eligible can book a vaccine appointment via the NHS.UK website COVID-19 booking page, NHS app or by calling 119 for free.

Parents and carers can book a COVID-19 vaccination on behalf of children under 16.

The NHS is sending texts, emails and letters to those who are eligible, but you do not have wait for an invitation to book.

COVID-19 can still be very dangerous, particularly for older people and those with a weakened immune system. The vaccine gives good protection and helps reduce the risk of serious illness or death, needing to go to hospital, catching and spreading the virus, and protects against different variants.

The NHS recommends that anyone eligible who has not received any previous doses should get vaccinated during this year’s spring offer, to help protect against serious illness.

You can read more information about the COVID-19 Spring 2024 vaccination roll-out on the NHS website as well as via the Gov.UK.

COVID-19 vaccine and psoriasis

The COVID-19 vaccine provides the best protection against coronavirus. Four vaccines for COVID-19 have been approved for use in the UK: the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine; the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine; the Moderna vaccine; and the Janssen vaccine.

While this is certainly cause for optimism, it’s completely understandable that people who are taking immunosuppressive drugs for their psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis may have some concerns about whether or not it is safe for them to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

We’ve put the following information together to try and address some of the concerns you may have. It’s important to note that we are learning more about both COVID-19 itself and the different vaccines that are being developed all the time. We will ensure that this section is updated regularly as further information is released.

For general information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the relevant website for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine suitable for people with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis?

Yes, current evidence suggests that the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, and Moderna vaccines are all suitable for people who are living with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis. Therefore, having psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis, or taking prescribed medicines to treat your condition will not affect whether or not you can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, or which vaccine is best for you.

Is a COVID-19 vaccine likely to affect my psoriasis?

There is no evidence to suggest that vaccines are bad for psoriasis (or likely to make it worse, or flare), hence why people are encouraged to have the flu vaccine each year. At this stage, scientists are having to extrapolate data from other vaccines such as the flu vaccine and can see no reason why the COVID-19 vaccine would be any different in terms of flaring/causing psoriasis from, say, the flu vaccine. Systematic reviews have not found evidence that (non-live) vaccines are bad for psoriasis.

Is it safe for people who are taking immunosuppressant medication to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are all considered suitable for people who are living with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis regardless of whether they are receiving drugs that affect the immune system (such as methotrexate and biologic injections, for example) or not.

People who are receiving drugs which affect the immune system are not able to receive live (also known as 'attenuated') vaccines, however the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are not live vaccines. Non-live vaccines can generally be given safely to people receiving drugs that affect the immune system (such as methotrexate and biologic injections, for example), however further study is required to understand how well the vaccines work in the context of these medications.

For further reassurance on this point, please refer to the British Society for Immunology statement on COVID-19 vaccines for patients who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed.

Will a COVID-19 vaccine be effective in people who are taking immunosuppressant medication?

It is not yet known whether taking an immunosuppressant (such as methotrexate) or biologic medication reduces the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Trials to date have not included people taking drugs that affect the immune system and thus vaccine efficacy in this specific population will need to be established.

However, even a reduced response to the vaccine is better than none, so you are still advised to get vaccinated even if you are taking an immunosuppressant medication.

In July 2021, results of a study which investigated the immune response to the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in people taking immunosuppressant drugs for psoriasis were published. You can find out more here.

I have been offered one of the COVID-19 vaccines - should I stop or delay my immunosuppressant or biologic medication?

The British Association of Dermatologists currently does not usually advise stopping or delaying immunosuppressant or biologic treatment before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

There may be situations where your doctor advises reducing or stopping your treatment - for example, if your risk of COVID-19 is high and your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis is well-controlled and unlikely to flare up. This should be discussed with your doctor on an individual basis. Do not stop any of your treatments without first discussing with your doctor.

I am about to start taking an immunosuppressant or biologic medication for the first time - can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. Your doctor may offer you the COVID-19 vaccination before you start your treatment to give your immune system enough time to respond to the vaccine.

Ideally, the time between receiving your vaccine and starting treatment is at least 2 weeks. Where possible, it is also preferable for the two-dose schedule to be completed before starting treatment, which may mean that the second dose of the vaccine needs to be given at the recommended dosing interval for that particular vaccine (3-4 weeks after the first dose). However, this may not be possible depending on the severity of your psoriasis and the type of immunosuppressant or biologic medication you are about to start taking. Your doctor will discuss this with you.

Are there any updates on the COVID-19 vaccination role out?

In mid-August 2021, everyone aged 16 and over in the UK was granted eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, following recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

In April 2024, as we move into a pandemic recovery phase and the UK COVID-19 vaccination programme enters its spring rollout, the JCVI has issued the following statement.

JCVI advises that for the spring 2024 booster programme, the following groups should be offered a COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Adults aged 75 years and over by 30 June 2024
  • Residents in care homes for older adults
  • Individuals aged 6 months and over who are immunosuppressed.

Full details of the report are available on the GOV UK website.

Will data be collected on the effect of the COVID-19 vaccines on people with psoriasis?

Registry data such as that from the British Association of Dermatologists Biologics and Immunomodulators Register (BADBIR) and PsoProtect should be collected to inform whether the COVID-19 vaccines either positively or negatively affect psoriasis outcomes. In addition, if you have psoriasis yourself, you can self-report to the PsoProtectMe study (whether you have had COVID-19 or not). If you do experience COVID-19 infection then you can also ask your healthcare professional to report this to the PsoProtect registry.

Finally, if you have received the vaccine, you can report any suspected side effect using the Coronavirus Yellow Card safety scheme.

Information from the British Society for Immunology about the different types of vaccines for COVID-19 and how they work can be found here.

The British Association of Dermatologists has also issued an FAQs document addressing COVID-19 vaccination for immunosuppressed patients, which can be found here.

Specific information on COVID-19 vaccination in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can be found by following the relevant link below:


Northern Ireland



Access to free lateral flow tests for eligible patients

From 6 November 2023, arrangements will be in place to pick up free lateral flow tests from community pharmacy for patients who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments. This will replace the current process of ordering tests online and via 119.

Am I eligible for free lateral flow tests?

COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests are no longer free for most people.

You may still be able to get free COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests from the NHS if you:

  • have a health condition which means you're eligible for COVID-19 treatment
  • work in healthcare settings or in a hospice

It’s very important that eligible patients keep lateral flow tests at home so that they can test if symptomatic. Patients are advised to plan ahead and ensure that they always have sufficient test kits at home in advance of symptoms appearing (three tests for testing on three consecutive days, as required).

Further information on COVID-19 treatments, including who is eligible for free lateral flow tests, can be found on the NHS website.

Winter flu and COVID-19 vaccines for people at higher risk

The NHS recommends the flu and COVID-19 vaccines for people who are considered at higher risk or have weakened immune system conditions.

Why is getting flu and COVID-19 vaccines important this winter?

Flu and COVID-19 are more likely to be serious for people with a condition that places them at higher risk or have a weakened immune system. Vaccines are advised to help protect people from getting seriously ill or go to hospital. It’s also important for household contacts or carers to get both vaccines this winter, to prevent transmission of the flu virus and to stop the carer or household contact from potentially becoming unwell.

It’s important to get your vaccines to help protect you and lower your risk from these viruses. Protection from the vaccines starts around two weeks after having them. You may still get flu or COVID-19, but your symptoms are likely to be milder. The flu and COVID-19 vaccines available in the UK are considered safe and effective. Those eligible for a flu and COVID-19 vaccination this winter should already have received their invitation to book or attend vaccines.

You can read further information on how to stay well during the winter and how to book your vaccine on the NHS website. You can also find more details within NHS Scotland leaflets.

Am I at higher risk of catching COVID-19 if I have psoriasis?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that people with psoriasis are at any more or less risk of catching COVID-19 than the rest of the population. As such, you should follow the guidance that is in place for everyone - see guidance for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

What if I am on immunosuppressant medication?

As far as we are aware, if you take an immunosuppressant medication (e.g. methotrexate and ciclosporin) or biologics to treat your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, you may be at extra risk of complications from the virus if you are infected. The specific risk for each individual depends on a number of factors, including: which immunosuppressant medications you are taking; whether you are taking just one of these medications, or more than one; and whether you are also living with other medical issues.

It is not necessary for you to stop taking your systemic/biologic medication unless specifically told to do so by your prescriber (e.g. dermatologist, rheumatologist, or biologics nurse), and actually to do so could cause a flare in your condition.

If you do have concerns about continuing your medication, you should speak to your prescriber about the risks and benefits before deciding whether or not to stop your treatment.

If you are taking an immunosuppressant medication for psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis, and you do develop the symptoms of an infection or virus (such as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) you should follow the latest NHS advice and consult your prescriber on whether or not to continue taking your medication.

If at any stage you do need to seek treatment for the symptoms of COVID-19, it is a good idea to make a note of the different medicines you take and the different conditions that you have, and give this to the healthcare staff who are treating you.

The following guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Scottish Government may be helpful for reference. They are based on the latest evidence and expert opinion, and have been verified as far as possible.

From the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE):

Note, current practice is to manage COVID-19 risk in line with risk of other respiratory infections.

COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing COVID-19

From the Scottish Government:

Last updated 18 January 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Important advice for people with dermatological conditions (not cancerous)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Important advice for people with rheumatic conditions

How can I lower the risk of catching COVID-19?

For the most up-to-date advice on COVID-19 (Coronavirus), you should read the following guidance from:

    To stop COVID-19 from spreading, you should:

  • Get vaccinated - everyone aged 16 or over in the UK is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Meet people outside if possible
  • Open doors and windows to let fresh air in if meeting people inside
  • Limit the number of people you meet and avoid crowded places
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds)
  • Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. Emollients can be applied following hand sanitiser use if necessary
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • Wear a face covering when it's hard to stay away from other people - particularly indoors or in crowded places.
  • Not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

  • There is separate advice about:

    What to do if you're at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)

    Self-isolation and treating coronavirus symptoms

What if frequent handwashing irritates my psoriasis?

Unfortunately it is likely that increased handwashing will have an impact on people with psoriasis on their hands. In order to minimise this impact, we have compiled the advice below;

Wash hands with soap and water, then re-wash with an emollient soap substitute

You should follow government guidance and wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds. You may find it helpful to wash them a second time with an emollient soap substitute to help moisturise the skin and prevent it from drying and cracking. A list of soap substitutes or emollient cleaners can be obtained from the Psoriasis Association.

Dry hands gently, and moisturise them afterwards

Keep tubes of moisturiser by the sink at home, as well as in your handbag or pocket.

Wear cotton gloves with moisturiser at night

Cotton gloves can help moisturiser to penetrate the skin and work more effectively, so consider purchasing a pair and wearing at night, or whilst at home.

Use gloves when washing up

Use plastic or rubber gloves with cotton linings when doing the washing up or hand washing clothes, this will help to prevent unnecessary drying resulting from activities other than washing your hands.

Wear gloves during cold weather

Wear warm gloves when you go out in cold weather, as the cold can be particularly drying to the skin.

Remove jewellery

Wearing rings, watches and other jewellery may aggravate your skin if your psoriasis is already sore from handwashing. Try removing your jewellery for a few days, and see what effect (if any) this has.

Handwashing instructions from the NHS can be found here.

Preparing for a virtual consultation

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that more people than ever are having their healthcare appointments held by telephone or video. For many, this is a completely new experience and it can be a little disconcerting having to rely on technology when you’re used to seeing your doctor or nurse face-to-face. While many aspects of a virtual appointment will be the same as in-person, others (including the technology itself) will be different, which is why we’ve put this resource together.

The tips have been divided into two sections: those to bear in mind in advance of your appointment; and those to consider during the appointment itself. We hope they will be helpful, whether your next appointment is with a GP, nurse, dermatologist or rheumatologist. If you have any tips of your own that you think we should add to the resource, please do get in touch and let us know.

Click here to view the top tips resource

Reporting suspected side effects from medicines

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patients are currently being asked to submit all suspected side effects of their medicines using the Yellow Card scheme electronically instead of on paper. This is because all Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) staff are working remotely and no longer have access to the MHRA building (since 23rd March 2020) due to the pandemic.

Please note that once the MHRA regains access to its building, it will process any paper suspected side effects reported to the Yellow Card scheme. If you have sent a side effect Yellow Card after 17th March 2020, and you haven’t received an acknowledgement of your report, you may wish to resubmit your suspected side effect electronically.

You can report suspected side effects electronically via:

  • The Yellow Card website
  • The free Yellow Card app (downloadable from the Apple and Google Play stores)
  • Or by calling 0800 731 6789 for free on Monday to Friday between 10am and 2pm (you can leave a message outside of these hours and a member of the MHRA team will get back to you.

  • Please note there is a separate Coronavirus Yellow Card reporting site to report suspected side effects from medicines and vaccines or medical device and diagnostic adverse incidents used in coronavirus treatment.

Useful links

Useful links

From the NHS:

For up to date information, or if you think you may have the symptoms of COVID-19, please follow the latest NHS advice.