Background: Individuals with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) are more susceptible to COVID-19 morbidity and should therefore be prioritized for vaccination. Although individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities are given some priority in Israel, it is unclear to what extent individuals with ASD are being vaccinated relative to that of the general population. This study was aimed to assess vaccination prevalence among individuals with ASD. Method: Individuals with ASD, and age- and sex-matched controls (total n = 11,080), were assessed for prevalence of COVID-19 vaccination by February 2021, approximately a month and a half after the national vaccination distribution plan was launched in Israel. Data were obtained from the database of Clalit Health Services (CHS), the largest healthcare organization in Israel. Results: Individuals with ASD were more likely to be vaccinated for COVID-19 (OR = 2.55, 95 %CI 2.35–2.75, p <.001) across both sexes, but only in the 16–20 (OR = 2.04, 95 %CI 1.79–2.32, p <.001) and 21−40 (OR = 3.95, 95 %CI 3.52–4.43, p <.001) age groups. After adjusting for chronic illnesses, ASD remained significant in predicting the uptake of COVID-19 vaccination. Conclusions: Efforts to prioritize ASD patients may improve vaccination prevalence among individuals with ASD, especially among younger individuals. Healthcare providers worldwide should therefore consider prioritization policies so as to increase vaccination rates among this vulnerable population.
- Autism spectrum disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health