COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to help stop the pandemic, and CDC recommends healthcare personnel be among those offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines. As the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination program continues, some may have questions about the interaction between new COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and tests used for tuberculosis (TB) infection.
There are no data to inform the impact of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines on either the tuberculin skin test (TST) or the interferon gamma release assay (IGRA). There is no immunologic reason to believe that a TST or a blood draw for IGRA will impact the effectiveness of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. According to the Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), inactive vaccines do not interfere with TB test results. Although the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is not a live virus vaccine, not enough is yet known of the potential impact of mRNA vaccines on immune responses to say conclusively whether the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine could have a potential effect on TST or IGRA test results during the first 4 weeks after COVID-19 vaccination.
For healthcare personnel or patients who require baseline TB Testing, the CDC recommends performing TST or IGRA testing prior to COVID-19 mRNA vaccination or, if vaccination has already occurred, waiting until 4 weeks after completion of 2-dose COVID-19 mRNA vaccination.
For healthcare personnel who require testing for other reasons: Perform TB symptom screening on all healthcare personnel. Test for TB infection before or during the same visit as COVID-19 mRNA vaccination. If this is not possible, prioritization of testing for TB infection needs to be weighed with the importance of receiving COVID-19 mRNA vaccination based on potential COVID-19 exposures and TB risk factors.
All potential recipients of COVID-19 mRNA vaccination should weigh the risks and benefits of delaying TST/IGRA with their healthcare providers.
For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov and view these further resources: Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States and Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines