Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are advised to be vaccinated for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), according to a position statement by the British Society of Gastroenterology IBD section and IBD Clinical Research Group, published in Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

“The risks of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination are anticipated to be very low, and we strongly support SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in patients with IBD,” recommend the position statement authors.

The benefits of vaccination, including for patients who are treated with anti–tumor necrosis factor (TNF) drugs, are likely to outweigh concerns that protective immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination may be diminished in some patients with IBD. The authors advise that patients with IBD accept the first available vaccine appointments.


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“For most patients, active IBD should not be a barrier to vaccination, although in patients with severe IBD flares or those requiring hospitalization, it may be preferable to consider a short delay pending recovery to prevent confusion arising from incorrect attribution of vaccine-related adverse effects to complications of acute illness, and vice versa,” stated the research group.

As previous research has shown impaired responses to pneumococcal, influenza, and other vaccines in patients with IBD on immunosuppression, there is a need to understand whether different immunosuppressive regimens impair the development of anti–SARS-CoV-2 immunity in this high-risk population, the authors noted.

“The uptake of recommended vaccines among patients with IBD has historically been suboptimal,” the authors commented. “There is a necessity for qualitative research on attitudes toward SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in patients with IBD. Rates of acceptance of vaccination should also be tracked and reasons for nonuptake explored.”

Disclosures: Some of the authors reported affiliations with pharmaceutical companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.

Reference

Alexander JL, Moran GW, Gaya DR, et al. SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for patients with inflammatory bowel disease: a British Society of Gastroenterology Inflammatory Bowel Disease section and IBD Clinical Research Group position statement. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021;6(3):218-224.