COVID-19 and Rheumatology

COVID-19 and Rheumatology

Disclosures: This study was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The researchers report no additional relevant financial disclosures.
February 01, 2022
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COVID-19 vaccine uptake higher among patients with IMIDs than general population

Disclosures: This study was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The researchers report no additional relevant financial disclosures.
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Approximately 83% to 88% of Canadian patients with immune-mediated inflammatory disease have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 78% of the general population, according to data published in The Journal of Rheumatology.

“COVID-19 vaccines have brought tremendous promise to help manage the pandemic and ensuring high COVID-19 vaccine uptake among individuals with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) — who are vulnerable to severe COVID-19 outcomes — has been a priority for most COVID-19 immunization programs worldwide,” Jessica Widdifield, PhD, of the University of Toronto, told Healio. “However, the vaccination uptake among this group was previously unknown.”

RH0122Widdifield_Graphic_01
Approximately 83% to 88% of Canadian patients with IMIDs have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 78% of the general population, according to data derived from Widdifield J, et al. J Rheumatol. 2022;doi:10.3899/jrheum.211148.

To examine COVID-19 vaccine uptake among patients with IMIDs, compared with the general population, Widdifield and colleagues studied data from all residents of Ontario, Canada, aged 16 years and older who were alive and enrolled in the province’s universal health insurance plan as of Dec. 14, 2020, when COVID-19 vaccination began. For the population with IMIDs, the researchers identified patients with rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease using health administrative data.

In all, the study included 12,435,914 individuals in the general population and 138,304 patients with RA, 28,509 with AS, 17,646 with PsA, 182,319 with psoriasis and 108,792 with IBD. COVID-19 vaccine status was obtained from Ontario’s provincial COVaxON registry. The researchers reported weekly cumulative proportions of first and second vaccine doses until Oct. 3, 2021, as the vaccinated percentage of each disease group, as well as compared to the general Ontario population, stratified by age.

Jessica Widdifield

According to the researchers, cumulative percentages of residents with at least one dose by Oct. 3 were 82.1% for the general population, 88.9% for RA, 87.4% for AS, 90.6% for PsA, 87.3% for psoriasis and 87% for IBD. Total cumulative percentages of residents with two vaccine doses ranged from 83.8% to 88.2% among those with IMIDs, compared with 78% for the general population.

These differences in uptake remained when stratifying by age. Patients with IMIDs in the youngest age group initially had earlier uptake than the general population. However, they remain the lowest age group with two doses, at 70.6% in the general population and 73.7% to 79.2% across IMID groups.

“This Canadian study revealed higher COVID-19 vaccine uptake among individuals with IMIDs, surpassing the general population vaccination uptake,” Widdifield said. “Yet, despite having sufficient available supply and time to vaccinate the entire population, there is a subset of the IMID population — approximately 10% — that remains unvaccinated.

“The relatively lower vaccine uptake among younger individuals suggests a need to consider targeted interventions to encourage uptake,” she added. “Ongoing surveillance efforts are needed to monitor third doses — to complete the primary series required for immunocompromised patients — and fourth-dose boosters.”