The COVID-19 Vaccine Allergy Program can overcome vaccine misinformation and improve COVID-19 vaccination rates among vaccine-hesitant health care workers (HCWs) through a shared decision-making process, according to study findings presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting, held from November 10 to 14, in Louisville, Kentucky.
Researchers sought to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates among vaccine-hesitant HCWs via the COVID-19 Allergy Program. A total of 38 vaccine-hesitant HCWs were enrolled in the program, where their vaccine-related risks and the nature of their concerns was assessed via questionnaire. Enrollees then were offered a COVID-19 vaccine evaluation and skin prick test (SPT).
The most common concerns related to vaccine refusal were side effects (47%), fear of allergic reaction (26%), underlying medical condition (18%), and previous COVID-19 infection (18%). Questionnaire results indicated that if HCWs were not required to receive COVID-19 vaccination, 71% of enrollees said they would categorically not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, 21% reported they were not likely to receive the vaccine, and 8% said they were likely to receive the vaccine.
Researchers noted 11% of participants had no interest in the SPT whereas 89% (34) of participants expressed interest in the COVID-19 SPT; of the latter group, 31 participants followed through. The SPT showed 97% were negative and 3% — 1 participant — was positive. Follow-up revealed 71% then received the COVID-19 vaccine, 23% rejected the vaccine, and 6% were lost to follow-up.
Those participants who declined the vaccine cited religious exemptions (86%) and medical exemptions (14%). Researchers discovered among the participants who said they were not likely or definitely not likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, 69% actually did receive the vaccine.
The researchers concluded that “Our study showed a preponderance of HCW who were unlikely to get the vaccine, and subsequently agreed to receive it after negative SPT. Thus COVID-19 Vaccine Allergy Program can be used to dispel misinformation and help HCW in the shared decision-making process to improve vaccination rates.”
Mohammed S, Kaunang J, Zeana C, Grodman H, Purswani M, Persaud Y. Using COVID vaccine skin testing in shared decision making to address vaccine hesitancy. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2022;125(5):S16. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2022.08.545