Epilepsy Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Jefferson Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Children's Medical Center, Pediatrics Center of Excellence, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Multiple Sclerosis Research Center; Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Correspondence: Ali A. Asadi-Pooya
Epilepsy Research Center,
Shiraz University of Medical Sciences,
The aim of the current study was to investigate the opinions of neurologists and psychiatrists in Iran on the necessity of COVID-19 vaccination in patients with epilepsy (PWE). These data can help policy makers understand the concerns of these healthcare professionals.
This was a survey study. On September 1st, 2020 we sent a questionnaire (using Google-forms) to all neurologists and psychiatrists in Iran via WhatsApp. The survey included three general questions (age, sex, and discipline) and six COVID-specific questions.
In total,202 physicians participated in this study (116 neurologists and 86 psychiatrists). Of the participants, 27% believed that PWE are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. The majority (74%) of the participants would confidently recommend COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. However, only 49% of the physicians would recommend such a vaccine to all patients; others would consider it in special populations only. The overwhelming majority (91%) of the participants would recommend COVID-19 vaccine only when a reliable vaccine becomes available. Many physicians would trust a vaccine that is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) (46%) or a vaccine that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA-USA) (34%).
Physicians have concerns on the issue of the necessity of (a future) COVID-19 vaccine in PWE. The most important concern is the reliability of a vaccine and in this regard, two health agencies, the WHO and the FDA, are the most trusted organizations to approve a vaccine against COVID-19.