Initial behaviors and attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccine in sarcoidosis patients: results of a self-reporting questionnaire

Main Article Content

Christen Vagts
Jaleel Jerry G. Sweis
Nabil William G. Sweis
Christian Ascoli
Paola Rottoli
Filippo M. Martone
Athol U. Wells
Marc A. Judson
Nadera J. Sweiss
Elyse E. Lower
Robert P. Baughman

Keywords

Sarcoidosis, COVID-19, Vaccine

Abstract

Background: Individuals with self-declared sarcoidosis are at increased risk of COVID-19 related morbidity and mortality for which vaccination can be lifesaving. Despite this, vaccine hesitancy remains a large barrier to global acceptance of vaccination against COVID-19. We aimed to identify individuals with sarcoidosis who had and had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 vaccine to 1) establish a safety profile of COVID-19 vaccination in those with sarcoidosis and 2) to elucidate factors that contribute to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.


Methods: A questionnaire inquiring about COVID-19 vaccination status, vaccination side effects, and willingness for future vaccination was distributed from December 2020 to May 2021 to individuals with sarcoidosis living in the US and European countries. Details regarding sarcoidosis manifestations and treatment were solicited. Vaccine attitudes were classified as pro or anti-COVID-19 vaccination for subgroup analysis.


Results: At the time of questionnaire administration, 42% of respondents had already received a COVID-19 vaccination, most of whom either denied side effects or reported a local reaction only. Those off sarcoidosis therapy were more likely to report systemic side effects. Among subjects who had not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, 27% of individuals reported they would not receive one once available. Reasons against vaccination were overwhelmingly related to the lack of confidence in vaccine safety and/or efficacy and less related to concerns associated with convenience or complacency. Black individuals, women, and younger adults were more likely to decline vaccination.


Conclusions: Among individuals with sarcoidosis, COVID-19 vaccination is well-accepted and well-tolerated. Subjects on sarcoidosis therapy reported significantly less vaccination side effects, and thus the correlation between side effects, vaccine type, and vaccine efficacy requires further investigation. Strategies to improve vaccination should focus on improving knowledge and education regarding vaccine safety and efficacy, as well as targeting sources of misinformation, particularly in young, black, and female subpopulations.

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