Vaccinations

View frequently asked questions on this topic at the bottom of this page.

Research is emerging to indicate that adults and children with coeliac disease are not at increased risk of covid-19 unless they have additional more complex conditions. Read more about this here.

Our Health Advisory Council, a group of expert healthcare professionals working in coeliac disease from across the UK, recommends that a diagnosis of coeliac disease does not increase the risk of side effects or complications after vaccination.

Covid-19 vaccination - adults with coeliac disease

Across the UK, all adults over 18 years of age can book their first, second and booster dose of covid-19 vaccination.

Some adults with coeliac disease may have been invited for their booster vaccine early. This is because some adults with coeliac disease may have reduced spleen function (also known as hyposplenism). 

Covid-19 vaccination - children and young people with coeliac disease

Young people aged 16 and over who had a second dose of the covid-19 vaccine at least three months ago can get a booster dose.

Children and young people aged 12-15 can receive their first and second dose of covid-19 vaccination.

Some children aged 5-11 years are considered to be at higher risk of getting seriously ill from covid-19 and can now be offered a covid-19 vaccination. Children and young people with coeliac disease in general are not expected to be included within this group. A decision on vaccination of children aged 5-11 years who are not considered to be at high risk is still being considered. Read on for more information.

It’s important to remember that the approach for vaccinations in children will likely differ from that for adults. This is because children in general appear to have mild disease.

The risk of hyposplenism (reduced spleen function) in coeliac disease is also different in children and adults. The risk of hyposplenism in children seems to be very low. This is reflected in covid-19 vaccination guidance published on 11 January for children aged 5-15 years. Coeliac disease is not listed as an example condition associated with spleen dysfunction.

Local health care teams with access to an individual child’s medical records may make a decision about offering vaccination on a case by case basis. If you have a child with coeliac disease and are concerned, speak with your local healthcare team. They are best placed to provide individual advice.

Along with our Health Advisory Council, we contacted the Department of Health and Public Health England to highlight the difference in risk of hyposplenism for children and adults with coeliac disease and to ask that covid-19 guidance reflected this difference. We will make sure you stay up to date – keep an eye on our website and social media.

Children and young people born in 2006 onwards should have had access to the childhood immunisation programme and be protected against secondary infections from common encapsulated bacteria (such as pneumococcus).

Still have questions? Read some FAQs answered by one of our Health Advisory Council experts: Paediatric Gastroenterologist, Dr Peter Gillett. 

Allergic reactions following covid-19 vaccination

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction and can be seen in response to foods, medicines and vaccines. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease and is not a food allergy.

Whether or not diagnosed with coeliac disease, people who have had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of covid-19 vaccine, or a component of the covid-19 vaccine, should not be given the vaccination. Anyone due to receive their vaccine should continue with their appointment and discuss any questions, serious allergies or any other medical conditions with the healthcare professional before having the vaccine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are people with coeliac disease at increased risk of severe illness from covid-19?

As coronavirus is a new illness, at the start of the pandemic there was no research specifically looking at the risk to people with coeliac disease. We are pleased to share the results of a research study in Sweden which found that coeliac disease was not associated with an increased risk of hospitalisation for covid-19 or death due to covid-19.

The study compared over 40,000 people with coeliac disease over a 6 month period to “matched controls”; people who don’t have coeliac disease but are the same gender, age and live in the same county. Data from this study was also adjusted to take into consideration other pre-existing health conditions.

The researchers compared the following outcomes between people with coeliac disease and controls:

  • Hospitalisation for covid-19
  • Having severe covid-19 (either being admitted into intensive care unit with a covid-19 diagnosis or death from covid-19 with covid-19 listed as a primary diagnosis)

The research found that people with coeliac disease were not at an increased risk of hospitalisation from covid-19 compared to matched controls from the general population. 

In addition, people with coeliac disease were not at an increased risk of intensive care admission or death related to covid-19.

Results from this study suggest that people with coeliac disease do not have an increased risk for severe covid-19. Although, this study was based in Sweden, which had different regulations for social distancing and restaurant, shop and school closures compared to other countries the results should be reassuring for people with coeliac disease in the UK.

This study did not investigate the long term effects of covid-19 such as “long covid”, where people have symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone.

Prof Jonas Ludvigsson, one of the researchers involved in this project, spoke about this research at our virtual 2021 research conference. You can watch the video here.

We will continue to provide updates as more research is published into the impact of coeliac disease on infection, immunity and covid-19.

Will people with coeliac disease be offered a third vaccine?

You may have heard about a third vaccine dose for people who are severely immunosuppressed, this is a different vaccine to the booster vaccine. The third vaccine dose does not apply to people with coeliac disease without any additional complications.