A Vaccine Education Initiative for GI Patients and Physicians

Co-Chairs: Francis A. Farraye, MD, MSc and Freddy Caldera, DO

Dr. Farraye and Dr. Caldera are spearheading an ACG initiative to promulgate patient and physician education that underscores the importance of immunizations for influenza and other vaccine-preventable diseases among patients with GI and liver diseases.

In partnership with both the ACG Patient Care Committee, chaired by Dr. Christine Hachem, and the ACG Public Relations Committee, chaired by Dr. Tauseef Ali, the College will add to the public health efforts to promote flu vaccine including those by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With guidance and clinical insights from Dr. Farraye and Dr. Caldera, ACG has developed patient and physician education materials, as well as social media assets that College members and others in the GI community can use.

The College presented a Virtual Grand Rounds on Thursday, December 3, 2020 with Dr. Farraye, “Vaccinations for the Immunocompromised in the Era of COVID.” If you miss the live presentation, a recording will be published at gi.org/ACGVGR in the days following the presentation.

Below you will find:

  • patient messages on vaccinations for GI and liver patients
  • educational materials including a flyer for use in your office or clinic
  • social media banners
  • a link to view recording of December 3, 2020 webinar by Dr. Farraye;
  • a short video by Dr. Caldera with a call-to-action to mask up and get your influenza vaccine;
  • an open access link to Caldera, et al., “Vaccination in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, in The American Journal of Gastroenterology
  • a ready-reference to recommendations for vaccines in GI patients based on work by Dr. Farraye and Dr. Caldera; and
  • links to resources from the CDC including information on National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 6 – 12, 2020.

ACG’s Messages for Patients

Vaccines: More Important Now Than Ever

The use of vaccines is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic for patients with gastrointestinal conditions and chronic liver diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease and liver transplantation.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, significantly fewer primary care and specialty physician visits occur in-person as more patients have telemedicine appointments. This has already resulted in a decline in vaccination rates across the United States. What is especially problematic is that certain patients such as those with IBD and post-liver transplantation are already at an increased risk for many vaccine-preventable diseases. We all want to minimize further strain to our healthcare system by avoiding these vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccines: Safe and Effective

Vaccines are safe and effective in patients with gastrointestinal diseases, including those with liver transplant and IBD. There is no data that vaccination will worsen the disease activity of patients with IBD. Patients with IBD should follow all age-appropriate vaccination recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Vaccines: Where and When

Sometimes patients with GI and liver conditions get vaccines from their family doctor or primary care physician, other times from their gastrointestinal or liver specialist. Since you are likely to have fewer in-person medical appointments, consider getting your vaccines at alternative places such as your local pharmacy or infusion center, or scheduling a “vaccine visit” with a nurse.

Vaccines: Call-to-Action

Even during COVID-19, don’t hesitate to start the conversation with your health care provider and make a plan to get vaccinated for seasonal flu and for other vaccine-preventable diseases such as pneumonia, shingles, hepatitis B, HPV, and more.

Make sure your family is up-to-date too!

#FightFlu #SleeveUp #FluShot #FluSeason #NoTimeForFlu #ShotWave

Resources for Patient Use

Download a double-sided 8.5×11″ flyer for patient use and post in your office or clinic

Download Social Media Banners via Dropbox

Resources for Physicians

Watch Recording of Webinar December 3, 2020 with Dr. Francis Farraye: Vaccinations for the Immunocompromised in the Era of COVID

Presenter: Francis A. Farraye, MD, MSc, FACG
Moderator: Samir A. Shah, MD, FACG
Learning Objective: Appreciate the increased risk of infections in immunocompromised patients with inflammatory bowel disease and chronic liver disease, and review necessary vaccinations for these patients in the COVID pandemic.

Download Slides


Dr. Freddy Caldera in this patient education video urges viewers to mask up and get an influenza vaccine.

Read Caldera, et al., “Vaccination in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease”


Download Ready Reference: Adult Immunization Schedule for Patients with Gastrointestinal Conditions

Francis A. Farraye, MD, MSc and Freddy Caldera, DO

Explore 2020-2021 Flu Education from CDC

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a wealth of patient education materials including flyers, downloadable banners, messages in Spanish, and targeted campaigns to a variety of patients.

Here are some of the CDC eduational resources for 2020-2021 that ACG urges its members to share and amplify. Notably, the week of December 6 -12, 2020 is National Influenza Vaccination Week.