Humoral and cellular immune response to mRNA SARS-CoV-2 BNT162b2 vaccine in adolescents with rheumatic diseases

Clara Udaondo, Carmen Cámara, Laura Miguel Berenguel, Rosa Alcobendas Rueda, Celia Muñoz Gómez, Claudia Millán Longo, Blanca Díaz – Delgado, Iker Falces-Romero, Mariana Díaz Almirón, Jordi Ochando, Ana Méndez – Echevarría, Agustín Remesal Camba, Cristina Calvo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Data about safety and efficacy of the mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in adolescents with rheumatic diseases (RD) is scarce and whether these patients generate a sufficient immune response to the vaccine remains an outstanding question. Objective: To evaluate safety and humoral and cellular immunity of the BNT162b2 vaccine in adolescents 12 to 18 years with RD and immunosuppressive treatment compared with a healthy control group. Methods: Adolescents from 12 to 18 years with RD followed at Hospital La Paz in Madrid (n = 40) receiving the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination were assessed 3 weeks after complete vaccination. Healthy adolescents served as controls (n = 24). Humoral response was measured by IgG antiSpike antibodies, and cellular response by the quantity of IFN-γ and IL-2 present in whole blood stimulated with SARS-CoV-2 Spike and M proteins. Results: There were no differences in spike-specific humoral or cellular response between groups (median IFN-γ response to S specific protein; 528.80 pg/ml in controls vs. 398.44 in RD patients, p 0.78, and median IL-2 response in controls: 635.68 pg/ml vs. 497.30 in RD patients, p 0.22. The most frequent diagnosis was juvenile idiopathic arthritis (26/40, 65%) followed by Lupus (6/40, 15%). 60% of cases (23/40) received TNF inhibitors and 35% (14/40) methotrexate. 40% of patients (26/64) had previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, 9 in the control group and 17 in the RD patients without differences. Of note, 70% of infections were asymptomatic. A higher IFN-γ production was found in COVID-19 recovered individuals than in naive subjects in both groups (controls: median 859 pg/ml in recovered patients vs. 450 in naïve p 0.017, and RD patients: 850 in recovered vs. 278 in naïve p 0.024). No serious adverse events or flares were reported following vaccination. Conclusions: We conclude that standard of care treatment for adolescents with RD including TNF inhibitors and methotrexate did not affect the humoral and the cellular immunity to BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination compared to a healthy control group. The previous contact with SARS-CoV-2 was the most relevant factor in the immune response.

Original languageEnglish
Article number64
JournalPediatric Rheumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Covid-19
  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
  • Methotrexate
  • TNF inhibitors
  • mRNA vaccination


Dive into the research topics of 'Humoral and cellular immune response to mRNA SARS-CoV-2 BNT162b2 vaccine in adolescents with rheumatic diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this