Coronavirus, COVID-19 Public Health Advisory
Your health and safety and that of every person affected by scleroderma is of paramount importance to the Scleroderma Foundation. The Foundation takes very seriously the threat the coronavirus (COVID-19) presents to individuals living with scleroderma, who are immunocompromised. Although vaccines are currently available in the United States and there are fewer capacity restrictions on gatherings, there remains an inherent risk. As a community, we want to ensure that we are keeping each other safe while actively assessing our policies and practices. As the pandemic continues, we wish to provide you with reliable information from qualified sources to guide you in your decision making regarding support group meetings, chapter events, and the activities of daily life.
The Foundation is guided by the directives and recommendations of the United States Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), state departments of public health, and the Foundation's Medical & Scientific Advisory Board.
States and municipalities have issued local policies regarding mask wearing and public gatherings. Please consult with public health and school officials in your community to learn the current status of precautions related to public gatherings and mask wearing, and heed their recommendations. For your convenience, the department of public health for each state is listed at the end of this page.
Meetings and Events
- In consultation with the Leadership Committee of the Scleroderma Foundation's Medical & Scientific Advisory Board, chapters and support groups are strongly urged to suspend, cancel, or reschedule indoor support group meetings and scleroderma education events.
- Support group leaders should consider the option of using virtual meeting tools, such as Zoom.com, or telephone conferencing during this period of time.
- Where local policies allow in-person events, the Foundation will require the use of a COVID-19 Waiver and Release of Liability. As of July 15, 2021, all individuals will be required to provide a signed COVID-19 Waiver and Release of Liability to participate in all in-person Scleroderma Foundation sponsored activities. The Scleroderma Foundation chapter will present these forms to participants.
- We ask that you continue to adhere to CDC regulations and recommend that event staff, volunteers, and attendees consult with healthcare providers on their personal risk prior to participation.
- Please note that recent studies suggest that immunocompromised people, particularly those on mycophenolate mofetil, may have had less than 50% effectiveness of the vaccine. Thus, it is strongly recommended that people diagnosed with scleroderma/systemic sclerosis who are receiving immunosuppressive therapies such as mycophenolate mofetil and rituximab and those who live with them should continue to wear face masks, practice social distancing, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and use diligence in frequent hand washing.
Remember, common flu precautions are also recommended by public health officials to protect against the coronavirus.
- Wash your hands with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your mouth, ideally with an elbow, when you cough or sneeze.
- Social distancing. Limit your activity in public as much as possible. When in public, keep your distance from others; six to ten feet is best; three feet at minimum.
- Get a flu shot. It won't prevent coronavirus, but it will help keep you out of the doctor's office with the flu.
- Use your sick days. If you're not feeling well, stay home and get better.
The CDC is the best primary source for information on the coronavirus:
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Health Resources for Respiratory Complications:
- American Thoracic Society
- American College of Rheumatology
- Pulmonary Hypertension Association
- PRES (Paediatric Rheumatology European Society) Recommendations COVID-19 for Juvenile Scleroderma
Departments of Public Health:
National Association of County & City Health Officials
(Links to local health officials across the United States)
Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming