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  1. H. Wang1,2,
  2. O. Dewidar2,
  3. S. Whittle3,4,
  4. E. Ghogomu2,
  5. G. Hazlewood5,
  6. L. Mbuagbaw6,7,8,9,
  7. J. Pardo Pardo10,
  8. P. Robinson11,
  9. R. Buchbinder4,12,
  10. V. Welch2
  1. 1University of Ottawa, Medicine, Ottawa, Canada
  2. 2Bruyère Research Institute, Methods Centre, Ottawa, Canada
  3. 3The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Rheumatology Unit, 28 Woodville Road, Australia
  4. 4Cabrini Health, Monash-Cabrini Department of Musculoskeletal Health and Clinical Epidemiology, Melbourne, Australia
  5. 5University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine, Calgary, Canada
  6. 6McMaster University, Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact, Hamilton, Canada
  7. 7St Joseph’s Healthcare, Biostatistics Unit, Father Sean O’Sullivan Research Centre, Hamilton, Canada
  8. 8Yaoundé Central Hospital, Centre for Development of Best Practices in Health (CDBPH), Yaoundé, Cameroon
  9. 9Stellenbosch University, Department of Global Health, Cape Town, South Africa
  10. 10Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
  11. 11The University of Queensland, School of Clinical Medicine, Herston, Australia
  12. 12Monash University, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Melbourne, Australia


Background Individuals with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases (AIRDs) have an increased baseline risk of severe COVID-19 infection. Intersection of inequity factors may result in more severe adverse effects through influencing opportunities for health. We sought to examine the extent to which populations experiencing inequities were considered in studies of COVID-19 vaccination in individuals with AIRDs.

Objectives The objective of this study is to assess how health equity is considered in studies of COVID-19 vaccination studies in individuals with AIRDs.

Methods All studies (N=19) from an ongoing Cochrane living systematic review on the effects of COVID-19 vaccination in people with AIRDs were included. We identified inequity factors using the PROGRESS-Plus framework which stands for Place of residence, Race/ethnicity, Occupation, Gender/sex, Religion, Education, Socioeconomic status, and Social capital. Age, multimorbidity, and health literacy were also assessed as “Plus” factors. We applied the framework to assess equity considerations in relation to differences in COVID-19 baseline risk, description of participant characteristics, controlling for confounding factors, subgroup analysis and applicability of study findings.

Results:All nineteen studies are cohort studies that followed individuals with AIRDs after COVID-19 vaccination. Two articles (11%) described differences in baseline risk for COVID-19 across age. All nineteen studies described participant age and sex, with race/ethnicity and multimorbidity described in four (21%) and occupation in one (5%). Seven studies (37%) controlled for age and/or sex as confounding factors. Eleven studies (58%) conducted subgroup analysis across at least one PROGRESS-Plus factor, most commonly age. Eight studies (42%) discussed at least one PROGRESS-Plus factor in interpreting the applicability of results, most commonly age (32%), then race/ethnicity and multimorbidity (11%).

Conclusion It is unknown whether COVID-19 vaccine studies on individuals with AIRDs are applicable to populations experiencing inequities, as key inequity factors beyond age and sex have little to no reporting or analysis. Future COVID-19 vaccine studies should report social characteristics of participants consistently, facilitating informed decisions about the applicability of study results to the population of interest.

References [1]Whittle SL, Hazlewood GS, Robinson P, Johnston RV, Leder K, Glennon V, Avery JC, Grobler L, Buchbinder R. COVID-19 vaccination for people with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases on immunomodulatory therapies. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2021, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD014991. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD014991. Accessed 31 January 2022.

[2]O’Neill J, Tabish H, Welch V, Petticrew M, Pottie K, Clarke M, Evans T, Pardo Pardo J, Waters E, White H, Tugwell P. Applying an equity lens to interventions: using PROGRESS ensures consideration of socially stratifying factors to illuminate inequities in health. J Clin Epidemiol. 2014 Jan;67(1):56-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.08.005. Epub 2013 Nov 1. PMID: 24189091.

Disclosure of Interests Harry Wang: None declared, Omar Dewidar: None declared, Samuel Whittle: None declared, Elizabeth Ghogomu: None declared, Glen Hazlewood: None declared, Lawrence Mbuagbaw Consultant of: Design, analysis and report for Janssen, Bayer and AstraZeneca, Jordi Pardo Pardo: None declared, Philip Robinson Speakers bureau: Pfizer, Lilly, Abbvie, UCB, GSK, Novartis, Paid instructor for: Lilly, Consultant of: Abbvie, Lilly, Janssen, Kukdong, Atom Biosciences, Grant/research support from: Janssen, Pfizer, UCB and Novartis, Rachelle Buchbinder: None declared, Vivian Welch: None declared

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