Vaccine hesitancy decreases in rheumatic diseases, long-term concerns remain in myositis: a comparative analysis of the COVAD surveys

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Sen P., Naveen R., Houshmand N., Kia S. M., Joshi M., Saha S., ...More

RHEUMATOLOGY, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/rheumatology/kead057
  • Journal Name: RHEUMATOLOGY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CINAHL, EMBASE, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, MEDLINE
  • Keywords: COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine hesitancy, autoimmune disease, idiopathic inflammatory myopathies, registries, COVID-19, AUTOIMMUNE, ACCEPTANCE, HEALTH
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


Objective COVID-19 vaccines have a favorable safety profile in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (AIRDs) such as idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs); however, hesitancy continues to persist among these patients. Therefore, we studied the prevalence, predictors and reasons for hesitancy in patients with IIMs, other AIRDs, non-rheumatic autoimmune diseases (nrAIDs) and healthy controls (HCs), using data from the two international COVID-19 Vaccination in Autoimmune Diseases (COVAD) e-surveys. Methods The first and second COVAD patient self-reported e-surveys were circulated from March to December 2021, and February to June 2022 (ongoing). We collected data on demographics, comorbidities, COVID-19 infection and vaccination history, reasons for hesitancy, and patient reported outcomes. Predictors of hesitancy were analysed using regression models in different groups. Results We analysed data from 18 882 (COVAD-1) and 7666 (COVAD-2) respondents. Reassuringly, hesitancy decreased from 2021 (16.5%) to 2022 (5.1%) (OR: 0.26; 95% CI: 0.24, 0.30, P < 0.001). However, concerns/fear over long-term safety had increased (OR: 3.6; 95% CI: 2.9, 4.6, P < 0.01). We noted with concern greater skepticism over vaccine science among patients with IIMs than AIRDs (OR: 1.8; 95% CI: 1.08, 3.2, P = 0.023) and HCs (OR: 4; 95% CI: 1.9, 8.1, P < 0.001), as well as more long-term safety concerns/fear (IIMs vs AIRDs - OR: 1.9; 95% CI: 1.2, 2.9, P = 0.001; IIMs vs HCs - OR: 5.4 95% CI: 3, 9.6, P < 0.001). Caucasians [OR 4.2 (1.7-10.3)] were likely to be more hesitant, while those with better PROMIS physical health score were less hesitant [OR 0.9 (0.8-0.97)]. Conclusion Vaccine hesitancy has decreased from 2021 to 2022, long-term safety concerns remain among patients with IIMs, particularly in Caucasians and those with poor physical function.