COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases at a Diverse Safety Net Hospital

Dig Dis Sci. 2022 Feb 17;1-5. doi: 10.1007/s10620-022-07413-y. Online ahead of print.

Howard S Herman 1, Max P Rosenthaler 2, Noon Elhassan 3, Janice M Weinberg 3, Venkata R Satyam 4, Sharmeel K Wasan 4


Author information

1Department of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA. howard.herman@bmc.org.

2Department of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.

3Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

4Section of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.


Background and aims: Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and underrepresented minorities (URMs) historically have below average vaccination rates. URMs have increased morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. We surveyed IBD patients to assess COVID vaccination attitudes, particularly among URMs.

Methods: In May and June 2021, all 822 adult patients with IBD, medically homed at a tertiary IBD referral center and safety net hospital, and with access to the electronic patient portal, were sent an electronic survey assessing their attitudes regarding COVID-19 vaccination. An additional 115 without access to the patient portal were contacted by phone. Demographic and clinical data were recorded. The primary outcome was vaccination hesitancy, defined as: likely will become vaccinated later this year, but not immediately; unsure if they will get the vaccine; or do not want the vaccine. Multivariable logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (aOR) of factors associated with vaccination intent.

Results: The mean age was 46.6 years (SD 15.1). 210/1029 patients responded to the survey: 150/822 (18.2%) electronically and 60/115 (52.2%) by phone. Overall vaccine hesitancy rate was 11.9%, significantly higher in younger (aOR for 10-year increments, 0.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.46-0.90, p = 0.011), Hispanic (aOR, 7.67; 95% CI, 2.99-21.3, p < 0.0002), and Black patients (aOR, 3.52; 95% CI 1.11-11.1, p = 0.050). Safety concerns were the most cited reasons for vaccine hesitancy.

Conclusions: URM patients were more vaccine hesitant. Future studies should further explore factors leading to lower vaccination rates among these groups and strategies to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates.

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