COVID-19 Vaccine Is Effective in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients and Is Not Associated With Disease Exacerbation

Raffi Lev-Tzion*, Gili Focht, Rona Lujan, Adi Mendelovici, Chagit Friss, Shira Greenfeld, Revital Kariv, Amir Ben-Tov, Eran Matz, Daniel Nevo, Yuval Barak-Corren, Iris Dotan, Dan Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)e1263-e1282
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022


  • Crohn's Disease
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Vaccination


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