In December, Journal Vaccination published an analysis of COVID-19 vaccination coverage among people living with HIV in Catalonia between December 2020 and July 2022. The article is the result of a study funded by the Fundación la Marato de TV3 and led by the Center for Epidemiological Research on HIV/AIDS. The STI of Catalonia (CEEISCAT), a group of the German Trias i Puzel Research Institute (IGTP), in collaboration with researchers from the PISCIS cohort group, evaluated initial, monotherapy, and booster doses. This research aims to develop concrete action plans suitable for specific profiles to facilitate and promote immunization.
The study included a sample of more than 200,000 individuals, of whom 18,330 had HIV and were vaccinated against COVID-19. The researchers observed a lower rate of completion of the primary immunization schedule among people with HIV (78.2%) than among those without the condition (81.8%), with the difference even more pronounced among immigrant populations. However, people with HIV received more booster doses than others.
The authors identified a number of factors that may have contributed to the overall low vaccination rate: a prior diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2, HIV infection status, being an immigrant, or having a complex socioeconomic situation. These factors reflect barriers to vaccine access and healthcare.
The analysis helped identify patterns and contexts that encourage vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 among people living with HIV, as well as determine the need to improve vaccine access and address the hesitancy of vulnerable populations in receiving doses, highlighting their efficacy and safety. .
The gap between immigrant populations is wide
Researchers from the same group published another article Forum Infectious Diseases Journal, this time focusing on immigrant individuals living with HIV. Findings indicate that these individuals (more than 3,000 in the sample) have tested less SARS-CoV-2, yet have a similar cumulative diagnosis rate as the local population. Their vaccination rates are lower than those born in Catalonia, both for the full schedule and booster doses. In contrast, immigrants had more hospitalizations and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, even with similar length of stay and mortality rates. Furthermore, having two or more comorbidities has been implicated as a risk factor for severe COVID-19 in immigrant individuals.
The research suggests potential barriers that could justify these results, such as economic inequality, lack of information, structural inequality, language barriers or mistrust of the health care system. With this information, strategies are expected to be developed to reach migrant populations and promote vaccination, as it is crucial to protect the individual and prevent future epidemics at the societal level.