‘Significant differences’ exist in COVID-19 vaccination rates among people with HIV
COVID-19 vaccination rates differ significantly among people with HIV, researchers found.
According to a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, factors that influence these differences include age, race, sex, body mass index and country of residence.
“Data have shown that people with HIV have increased COVID-19 morbidity and mortality,” Steven Grinspoon, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard, told Healio.
“Thus,” Grinspoon said, “it is critical that people with HIV, representing a vulnerable and immunocompromised population, be vaccinated for COVID-19” — something the NIH has also emphasized in its recommendations.
For their study, Grinspoon and colleagues sought to assess vaccination rates and specific characteristics associated with vaccination in this population by using data from the Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV (REPRIEVE) a study of people with HIV that is being conducted in 11 countries in both high- and low-income global burden of disease (GBD) regions.
According to the study, vaccination rates among REPRIEVE participants were similar to those of the general populations in different countries and GBD regions, although Grinspoon said they found that there were “highly significant differences” in vaccination rates within these regions and countries.
For example, the study showed that although the collective vaccination rate among REPRIEVE participants through the end of July 2021 was 55%, vaccination rates were highest in high-income “super-regions” (71%), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (59%), South Asia (49%), Southeast/East Asia (41%) and Sub-Saharan Africa (18%).
Further assessment showed that country-specific rates within these regions varied “dramatically,” according to Grinspoon. The data showed that vaccination rates were highest in the United States (72%), Peru (69%) and Brazil (63%) and lowest in South Africa (18%), Uganda (3%), and Haiti (0%).
According to the study, among the overall REPRIEVE population, people were more likely to be vaccinated if they came from high-income GBD super-region countries; were white, male, older aged and had a longer duration of ART; and had higher BMI percentages and higher cardiovascular risk.
“Given that the data highlight major inequities in rates across GBD regions, public health officials should use these data to increase efforts to provide access to vaccines for people with HIV, particularly in those groups vulnerable to COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, in these regions,” Grinspoon said. “Furthermore, these findings highlight disparities in vaccination rates among subgroups of people with HIV, even in high income regions, where efforts to vaccinate people of color and women should be increased.”
He added, “The data do suggest, reassuringly, that those with higher BMI and cardiovascular risk do have higher vaccination rates, which is important to prevent morbidity in these at-risk groups.”