One year into the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus provide much hope to the whole world to bring this havoc into an end. With the greatest efficiency in human history, multiple types of vaccines have been approved for emergency use in some parts of the world. The world however, is dubious about how well or effective the jabs would work. The doubt intensifies in particular among population groups, either co-morbid or immuno-compromised.. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) belong to one such group. This webinar invites 3 distinguished experts to walk the audience through updated clinical impact of COVID19 on IBD patients, as well as the interaction of COVID19 vaccines with unique immunogenicity in IBD patients.

Revisiting COVID19 in IBD: what’s new? By Dr. Juanda
In his talk, Dr. Juanda will present the most up-to-date clinical consensus and challenges in IBD care, such as risk of developing COVID19, and the association of IBD severity and infection severity. While it is imperative to maintain disease control during this pandemic without compromising patient safety, what alternative delivery of care (e.g., teleconsultation) and modality of treatment (e.g., step down approach) should be considered by IBD specialists in the region, especially for immunosuppressed patients? What is the effect of IBD therapy on COVID19? Juanda will also exemplify his talk with a few clinical scenarios.

Vaccinating IBD Patients by Prof Ivan Hung (HKU)
Prof. Ivan Hung will continue the flow by taking a deep dive into IBD patients on lifelong medications ranging from 5-ASA to biologics, which may impose various effects on the general well-being including the immune system of the patients. While IBD treatment like anti-TNFs are known to render greater risks of infections, e.g. herpes, data to-date suggest that IBD patients are no more susceptible to COVID-19 than the general population. Is it safe for these individuals to receive vaccinations, and in particular SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations taking into account the various technological platforms such as mRNA vaccines and inactivated vaccines? If so, do they belong to the prioritized group? How does one pace their medications, especially dosing schedule of biological drugs, in the context of receiving two-dose vaccines? Prof Hung will address some of these critical questions for IBD specialists to advise on their IBD patients.

COVID19 Vaccines: What Gastroenterologists need to know? By Prof. David M. Allen
Prof. Allen will move the focus from IBD to a wider scope in gastroenterology space by shedding light on benefits and risks of COVID19 vaccines. Moreover, Prof. Allen further elaborates the issue of vaccine efficacy and safety concerns, based on the most updated clinical evidence, for gastroenterologists to consider when providing therapeutic recommendations and medical procedures for their patients, especially those with multiple co-morbidities and/or immunosuppressants.