COVID-19 Vaccine Allergy Program Helps to Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Among vaccine-hesitant health care workers, 71% of those receiving a negative skin prick test for COVID-19 vaccine allergy opted to get the vaccine.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Allergy Program can overcome vaccine misinformation and improve COVID-19 vaccination rates among vaccine-hesitant health care workers (HCWs) through a shared decision-making process, according to study findings presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting, held from November 10 to 14, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Researchers sought to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates among vaccine-hesitant HCWs via the COVID-19 Allergy Program. A total of 38 vaccine-hesitant HCWs were enrolled in the program, where their vaccine-related risks and the nature of their concerns was assessed via questionnaire. Enrollees then were offered a COVID-19 vaccine evaluation and skin prick test (SPT).

The most common concerns related to vaccine refusal were side effects (47%), fear of allergic reaction (26%), underlying medical condition (18%), and previous COVID-19 infection (18%). Questionnaire results indicated that if HCWs were not required to receive COVID-19 vaccination, 71% of enrollees said they would categorically not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, 21% reported they were not likely to receive the vaccine, and 8% said they were likely to receive the vaccine.

Our study showed a preponderance of HCW who were unlikely to get the vaccine, and subsequently agreed to receive it after negative SPT. Thus COVID-19 Vaccine Allergy Program can be used to dispel misinformation and help HCW in the shared decision-making process to improve vaccination rates.

Researchers noted 11% of participants had no interest in the SPT whereas 89% (34) of participants expressed interest in the COVID-19 SPT; of the latter group, 31 participants followed through. The SPT showed 97% were negative and 3% — 1 participant — was positive. Follow-up revealed 71% then received the COVID-19 vaccine, 23% rejected the vaccine, and 6% were lost to follow-up.

Those participants who declined the vaccine cited religious exemptions (86%) and medical exemptions (14%). Researchers discovered among the participants who said they were not likely or definitely not likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, 69% actually did receive the vaccine.

The researchers concluded that “Our study showed a preponderance of HCW who were unlikely to get the vaccine, and subsequently agreed to receive it after negative SPT. Thus COVID-19 Vaccine Allergy Program can be used to dispel misinformation and help HCW in the shared decision-making process to improve vaccination rates.

This article originally appeared on Pulmonology Advisor

References:

Mohammed S, Kaunang J, Zeana C, Grodman H, Purswani M, Persaud Y. Using COVID vaccine skin testing in shared decision making to address vaccine hesitancy. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2022;125(5):S16. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2022.08.545