Background and Aims: This study assessed the differences in swabbing rates, vaccine uptake, COVID-19 infection, hospitalization rates and outcomes in patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) on immunomodulation and patients diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Methods: A population consisting of 250 IBD and 250 IBS patients was randomly selected from the local database. Apart from demographic data, the following data was collected: number of COVID-19 swabs taken, vaccination rates, type of vaccine administered, infection secondary to COVID-19, hospitalization and outcomes.

Results: IBD patients performed significantly more swabs tests for SARS-CoV-2 detection compared with IBS patients in both phases of the study. Whilst the IBS cohort recorded a larger number of COVID-19 infection and less hospitalisations whilst infected, IBD patients had a better outcome whilst infected since hospitalisation reason in the latter was not related to COVID-19 infection. IBD patients had a larger uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.

Conclusions: This study was the first of its nature locally and internationally as it compared two unrelated cohorts of patients followed up in gastroenterology. Vaccination rates in both cohorts were higher than those reported internationally. In concordance with international studies, IBD patients are not at an increased risk of worse outcomes from COVID-19 infection compared to non-IBD cohorts.


COVID-19, hospitalization, vaccination, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome