P307 The effect of COVID-19 infection and vaccination in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Sciberras, N.(1);Pisani, A.(2);Vassallo, C.(1);Zahra Bianco, E.(2);Ellul, P.(2);

(1)Mater Dei Hospital, Medicine, Msida, Malta;(2)Mater Dei Hospital, Gastroenterology, Msida, Malta;


Inflammatory Bowel Disease(IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS) are gastrointestinal disorders which differ in pathophysiology and management. The use of immunomodulatory drugs brings concerns which increased during the pandemic. Similarly, patients with IBS may have concerns about the effect of infection and vaccine on their wellbeing. The aim of this study was to assess for any differences in swabbing, vaccine uptake, COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation rates and outcomes in patients with IBD on immunomodulatory treatment and patients with IBS.


Patients were recruited through the local database (March 2020 – August 2021). All IBD patients had a histological diagnosis while IBS patients were diagnosed according to ROME IV criteria. All patients were offered vaccination. Apart from demographic data the following was collected: number of COVID-19 swabs taken, vaccination rates, type of vaccine administered, infection secondary to COVID-19, hospitalization and outcomes.


Overall, 250 IBD patients (43.6% female) and 250 patients with IBS (78.4% female) were recruited. The mean patient age in the IBS cohort was 40.6 years (SD ± 11.99) whilst the mean patient age in the IBD cohort was 40.7 years (SD±15.7).

Patients with IBD underwent significantly more COVID-19 swab tests (n=759) than patients with IBS (n=615) (p =0.02).

Patients with IBD were having the following biological therapy: 62.8% Infliximab, 24.8% Adalimumab, 10% Vedolizumab and 2.4% Ustekinumab.

There was no significant difference in COVID-19 infection rate between the IBS cohort (8.8%; n=22 patients; 2 patients not vaccinated) and the IBD cohort (6.4%; n=16 patients; 3 patients not vaccinated)(p=0.3).  The vaccine uptake rate was similar (IBD: 91.2%, IBS: 90%).

Table 1 demonstrates the type of vaccine administered to both cohorts.

In the IBS cohort, 1 patient was admitted to hospital in view of symptomatic hypoxaemia. The patient was treated with oxygen and dexamethasone, but did not require ventilatory support.  Within the IBD cohort, 3 patients requiring admission for IBD related treatment, tested positive asymptomatically on pre-admission COVID-19 screening. All had an uneventful outcome.


 Table 1

Cohort Pfizer AstraZeneca Johnson&Johnson Moderna
IBD 43% 54% 1% 2%
IBS 57% 31% 7% 5%


This study demonstrates that vaccine uptake, Covid-19 infection rates and outcomes were similar in patients with IBS and IBD patients on immunosuppressive therapy. However, IBD patients underwent significantly more swabbing than patients with IBS and this was generally due to patient concern of acquiring Covid-19 while being on immunosuppresive medications. This added psychological burden may further impact patients' psychological state and thus their quality of life.