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COVID-19 vaccine is effective in inflammatory bowel disease patients and is not associated

COVID-19 vaccine is effective in inflammatory bowel disease patients and is not associated with disease exacerbation

Lev-Tzion R, Focht G, Lujan R, Mendelovici A, Friss C, Greenfeld S, Kariv R, Ben-Tov A, Matz E, Nevo D, Barak-Corren Y, Dotan I, Turner D. Published Dec 2021, in the Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology.


Background & aims: Studies have shown decreased response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccinations in some populations. In addition, it is possible that vaccine-triggered immune activation could trigger immune dysregulation and thus exacerbate inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In this population-based study we used the epi-Israeli IBD Research Nucleus validated cohort to explore the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination in IBD and to assess its effect on disease outcomes.

Methods: We included all IBD patients insured in 2 of the 4 Israeli health maintenance organizations, covering 35% of the population. Patients receiving 2 Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine doses between December 2020 and June 2021 were individually matched to non-IBD controls. To assess IBD outcomes, we matched vaccinated to unvaccinated IBD patients, and response was analyzed per medical treatment.

Results: In total, 12,109 IBD patients received 2 vaccine doses, of whom 4946 were matched to non-IBD controls (mean age, 51 ± 16 years; median follow-up, 22 weeks; interquartile range, 4-24). Fifteen patients in each group (0.3%) developed COVID-19 after vaccination (odds ratio, 1; 95% confidence interval, 0.49-2.05; P = 1.0). Patients on tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and/or corticosteroids did not have a higher incidence of infection. To explore IBD outcomes, 707 vaccinated IBD patients were compared with unvaccinated IBD patients by stringent matching (median follow-up, 14 weeks; interquartile range, 2.3-20.4). The risk of exacerbation was 29% in the vaccinated patients compared with 26% in unvaccinated patients (P = .3).

Conclusions: COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness in IBD patients is comparable with that in non-IBD controls and is not influenced by treatment with TNF inhibitors or corticosteroids. The IBD exacerbation rate did not differ between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients.

Keywords: Crohn’s Disease; SARS-CoV-2; Ulcerative Colitis; Vaccination.


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