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COVID-19 vaccination safety and associated health care utilization among adults with inflammatory bowel disease – a population-based self-controlled case series analysis


Background and aims — There is an incomplete understanding of the full safety profiles of repeated COVID-19 vaccinations in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Among individuals with IBD, we assessed whether COVID-19 vaccines were associated with serious adverse events of special interest (AESI) and health care utilization [all-cause hospitalizations, Emergency Department (ED) visits, gastroenterology visits, IBD-related visits].

Methods — Using comprehensive administrative health data from Ontario, Canada, adults with IBD who received at least one COVID-19 vaccine from December 2020-January 2022 were included. Self-controlled case series analyses were conducted to evaluate the relative incidence rates of AESI and health care utilization outcomes across post-vaccination risk and control periods.

Results — Among 88,407 IBD patients, 99.7% received mRNA vaccines and 75.9% received ≥ 3 doses. Relative to control periods, we did not detect an increase in AESI. IBD patients had fewer all-cause hospitalizations during post-vaccination risk periods. Patients experienced more all-cause ED visits after dose 2 [Relative Incidence (RI):1.08(95%CI:1.04-1.12)] but fewer visits after doses 3 [RI:0.85 (95%CI:0.81-0.90)] and 4 [RI:0.73 (95%CI:0.57-0.92)]. There was no increase in gastroenterologist visits or IBD-related health care utilization post-vaccination. There were fewer IBD-related hospitalizations after dose 1 [RI:0.84 (95%CI:0.72-0.98)] and 3 [RI:0.63 (95%CI:0.52-0.76)], fewer IBD-related ED visits after dose 3 [RI:0.81 (95%CI:0.71-0.91)] and 4 [RI:0.55 (95%CI:0.32-0.96)], and fewer outpatient visits after dose 2 [RI:0.91 (95%CI:0.90-0.93)] and 3 [RI:0.87 (95%CI:0.86-0.89)].

Conclusion — This population-based study did not detect increased AESI, all-cause or IBD-related health care utilization following COVID-19 vaccination, suggesting a lack of association between vaccination and increased disease activity.



Lee JJY, Bernatsky S, Benchimol EI, Kuenzig ME, Kwong JC, Li Q, Widdifield J. BMC Gastroenterol. 2024; 24(1):189. Epub 2024 May 30.

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