Videos May Not Increase Vaccinations in IBD

Laird Harrison

May 25, 2022

SAN DIEGO – Video and text messaging may not increase the proportion of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who get influenza vaccinations.

Although patients who received the messages expressed greater intention to get the vaccinations in a trial of the two methods, they didn't follow through and get the shots, said Keren Appel, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children's Hospital of Orange County in Orange, Calif.

"We found there was no difference in the uptake of the influenza vaccine between the two groups," she said in an interview. Appel, who participated in the research while at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, presented the finding at the annual Digestive Diseases Week (DDW) 2022.

People with IBD run an increased risk of complications such as infection, bone fractures, and cancer, said Appel. Previous research has suggested many people with IBD lack understanding or awareness or are skeptical of immunizations.

A previous trial with text-based email reminders did not result in more immunizations, according to Appel, so she and her colleagues decided to try promoting health prevention with videos. With feedback from patients, they created a series of animations encouraging patients to get influenza, pneumococcal, and zoster vaccinations and screening for bone health and skin cancer.

They randomly assigned 511 to receive videos and 545 patients to receive texts as a control group. After 6 months, 345 patients remained in the text group and 322 remained in the video group. The two groups had similar demographics, health status, and preventive health behaviors. They were mostly educated White women whose IBD was in remission.

The percentage of those who got flu vaccines increased from 59% (for the 2018-2019 season) to 63% (for the 2019-2020 flu season) in the group that watched the videos. However this change did not quite reach statistical significance (P = .07). The change in the text group, from 55% to 57%, was also not significant (P = .23).

The subjects did express more intention to get flu vaccines. The percentage with this intention increased from 59 to 75 in the video group, and from 55 to 72 in the text group. Both changes were statistically significant (P < .001).

Intentions to receive pneumonia and shingles vaccines, and bone and skin cancer screening, were not statistically different between the groups.

The researchers looked at age, immunosuppression, gender, and education to see if these factors could predict who was most likely to get the flu vaccine, but the only significant predictor was having received a previous flu shot.

Appel speculated that the videos might have been more effective in a more racially diverse, less educated population, or one where fewer people had previously received vaccinations.

"While we didn't see a difference in this study, I think it opens up a lot of other questions that we can explore and answer," she said. "It's possible that patients may not have a one size fits all on their response. Some may respond better to video. Some may respond to text. Some may need more frequent reminders. Some might need to hear it from their doctor directly."

Session comoderator Alyse Bedell, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago, agreed that a different patient population might have responded differently. "A population that may have lower access to educational resources, or has less educational attainment, or may have fewer people in their communities that are already receiving vaccines – those I think are going to be the populations where we're going to be more likely to see the effects of an intervention like this," she said in an interview.

Neither Appel nor Bedell reported any relevant financial interests. The study was funded by Pfizer.

This article originally appeared on, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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