COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Among Individuals With HIV Vary By Geography

Immunocompromised individuals are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms and dying from COVID-19.

The overall global COVID-19 vaccination rate among individuals living with HIV is approximately 55%, with rates varying significantly by geography, according to a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. Immunocompromised individuals are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms and dying from COVID-19, making vaccination in this population critical.

“To our knowledge, COVID-19 vaccination rates among people with HIV have not yet been reported,” said Steven Grinspoon, MD, chief of the Metabolism Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, in a press release. “Our goal in this study was to leverage data from the Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV—or REPRIEVE—to look at vaccination rates among a global HIV cohort.”

Vaccination rates across participants in REPRIEVE—a cardiovascular prevention study being conducted in people living with HIV in multiple countries—were examined in different Global Burden of Disease super-regions that exhibit similar cause-of-death patterns. These regions included high-income regions (the United States, Canada, Spain), Latin America and the Caribbean (Brazil, Haiti, Peru, Puerto Rico), Southeast/East Asia (Thailand), South Asia (India), and Sub-Saharan Africa (Botswana, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe). Additionally, vaccination rates in REPRIEVE participants were compared with those from the general population of their region.

According to the investigators, among the 6952 REPRIEVE participants who were active in the study as of January 1, 2021, the overall vaccination rate was 55%. Rates were highest in the high-income super region at 71%, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean at 59%, South Asia at 49%, Southeast/East Asia at 41%, and Sub-Saharan Africa at 18%.

Vaccination rates among REPRIEVE participants were similar to the general population in most of the super-regions, with higher rates among individuals who identified as white than those who identified as Black in countries included in the high-income super region.

“As this is the first report of vaccination rates among a large, international cohort of people living with HIV from diverse Global Burden of Disease regions, these findings inform the field on overall and region-specific vaccination rates,” Grinspoon said in the release. “Given that the data highlight major inequities in rates across regions, public health officials should use these data to increase efforts to provide access to vaccines for people living with HIV, particularly in those groups vulnerable to COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.”

REFERENCE

International study reveals COVID-19 vaccination rates among people living with HIV [news release]. EurekAlert; December 1, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/936549