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P657 Acceptability of a COVID-19 vaccine among cohort of Croatian IBD patients treated in tertiary IBD centre

Tomasic, V.(1);Bišćanin, A.(1);Ćaćić, P.(1);Kralj, D.(1);Dorosulić, Z.(1);Ogresta, D.(1);Hrabar, D.(1);

(1)University Hospital Centre Sestre milosrdnice, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Zagreb, Croatia

Background

Several different types of COVID-19 vaccines are currently available in the EU. Although the massive prophylactic vaccination campaign is the best global solution that may bring an end to the pandemic, a certain proportion of the population seems to remain reluctant to it. No specific data for IBD patients is yet available. We aimed to assess prevalence and characteristics of IBD patients with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

Methods

Adult IBD patients treated in our centre were invited to fulfil anonymous online survey from January 17th to February 25th, 2021. Participants’ characteristics were assessed using descriptive statistics. Normal distribution was assessed using Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Shapiro-Wilk tests. Continuous  variables were compared  with independent t-test and Mann–Whitney test when appropriate. Categorical  variables  were analyzed using the Chi-square test.

Results

A total of 120 subjects (43.3% female, mean age 34.5±12.3 years, 56.7% Crohn’s disease) completed the survey with a response rate of 96%. Median of disease duration was 8 years (IQR 3-12 years) and 65.8% of participants were on biologics. Overall, only 51.7% were willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Mean age of subjects who were inclined to vaccination was higher compared to those who are not (38.1 vs 30.4 years), t(118)=3.43, p=.001. There wasn’t statistically significant difference in median of disease duration between these two groups U=1551, N1=58, N2=62, p=.194, two-tailed. Mean BMI was higher in group of patients who were willing to get vaccinated (25.4 vs 23.2 kg/m2) t(111.67)=2.94, p=.004. There was no difference in vaccine acceptance between IBD patients who identified themselves as a high-risk group and the other which didn’t. Also, acceptability of a COVID-19 vaccine in IBD patients with or without comorbidities didn’t differ significantly (χ2 (1, N = 120) = .52, p < .47). Connection between biologic use and willingness to vaccination wasn’t observed (χ2 (1, N = 120) = 2.06, p < .15). Reported reasons for COVID-19 vaccine unacceptability were belief that vaccine can’t be safe because of its rapid development (55%), fear from possible interaction between IBD therapy and vaccine (44%), and fear that vaccine may lead to disease flare (36%).

Conclusion

A high proportion of Croatian IBD patients are unwilling to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Further patient education, motivation strategies and positive vaccination campaign by gastroenterologists are warranted. Those could be the most significant factors in driving the compliance to COVID-19 vaccination and in reducing IBD patient’s hesitancy to get vaccinated.

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