Sickle Cell Anemia and COVID-19

Last updated: March 15, 2022

If you live with sickle cell anemia, you have a higher risk of developing more serious illness from COVID-19.

Your physician can review your medical record to help you understand your personal risk. More information about sickle cell anemia and COVID-19 is available from the American Society of Hematology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Here are answers to some common questions you may have. This information might change as we learn more about COVID-19. If you have other questions, talk to your physician.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you live with sickle cell anemia, you are not more likely to get COVID-19. However, you are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19.

The virus causes intense infection and inflammation in the body, which can place more stress on the immune system for people who live with sickle cell anemia. Having another condition like sickle cell anemia can lead to more severe complications and weaken the body’s ability to fight an infection like COVID-19.

Everyone should follow CDC guidelines to help prevent COVID-19 exposure and infection. We urge you to:

  • Get vaccinated and boosted.
  • Follow the most up-to-date local and CDC recommendations regarding masking.
  • Physically distance.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat well.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

Take your medication exactly as prescribed by your physician. Keep at least a 30-day supply of your medications, including inhalers. If you need a refill, call your physician or send a request through MyNM. While refilling your prescription, you can limit exposure to COVID-19 by using a mail-order service or drive-thru pharmacy. Or, have a caregiver pick up your medication.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, you should be tested for COVID-19. Learn about your testing options in the COVID-19 Resource Center at

The answer depends on many factors. Follow guidelines from the CDC.