Do vaccines reduce the harm of COVID-19 for people living with HIV and people who inject drugs in BC?

People living with HIV (PLHIV) have been reported to be at increased risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes. Yet it remains unclear how vaccines work in this population as they were mostly underrepresented in the early vaccine trials that determined vaccine approvals. We utilized a population-level data platform which links COVID-19 data on testing and immunizations with provincial health services data to examine the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in this population. We found that two doses of COVID-19 vaccines were effective against COVID-19 infection among PLHIV. However, the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in PLHIV appeared to slowly build up, and the degree of waning was quicker. The slower buildup and degree of waning was more pronounced among PLHIV with a history of injection drug use (IDU). This suggests that PLHIV, particularly those with a history of IDU should be prioritized for additional booster doses to ensure protection against adverse COVID-19 outcomes.

Presentation slides


Suggested audience:

  • People living with HIV.
  • People whose work involves the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV and/or people who inject drugs.
  • Community members and other allies
  • Researchers


As a member of the BC COVAXHIV study team, Monte wanted to gain a better understanding about the research process and study findings from the perspective of a PLWH/PLHIV newly involved in this type of research project. He recognized a desire to play a role in the study’s knowledge sharing process. With support and education from the rest of the study team, Monte is presenting the research study findings on behalf of the BC COVAXHIV team. Currently working as an assistant with PAN’s Research and Evaluation team, Monte is also a trainer for PAN’s Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI) and has been involved with the network since 2018. With a background in design, fine art, training, and communications, Monte applies systems-thinking and design-thinking to his work. He has a strong interest in knowledge mobilization and translation and aims to contribute to the skills and leadership development of people with lived and living experience.


More info: Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in people living with HIV in British Columbia and comparisons with a matched HIV-negative cohort: a test-negative design


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