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HomeHealthBreakthrough Covid more likely in cancer, Alzheimer's patients

Breakthrough Covid more likely in cancer, Alzheimer’s patients

New York, May 24 Breakthrough Covid-19 cases resulting in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are significantly more likely in cancer and Alzheimer’s patients, according to two new studies.

“breakthrough infection” is when a fully vaccinated person contracts Covid. Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine said that people with cancer and Alzheimer’s are often more susceptible to infection in general, and are also among the population’s most vulnerable to severe health outcomes from Covid infections as well.

The first study, published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Oncology, analyzed electronic health records of more than 636,000 vaccinated patients, including more than 45,000 vaccinated people with cancer.

The team found the overall risk of breakthrough Covid infections in vaccinated people with cancer was 13.6 percent, compared to 4.9 percent for vaccinated people without cancer.

The highest risk of breakthrough infections was in people with pancreatic cancer at 24.7 percent, followed by liver cancer (22.8 percent), lung cancer (20.4 percent), and colorectal cancer (17.5 percent).

Cancers with a lower risk of breakthrough infections included thyroid (10.3 percent), endometrial (11.9 percent), and breast (11.9 percent).

The overall risk for hospitalization following a breakthrough infection, in participants with cancer, was 31.6 percent, while the risk of death was 6.7 percent following a breakthrough infection.

“This study showed significantly increased risks for Covid-19 breakthrough infection in vaccinated patients with cancer, especially those undergoing active cancer care, with marked variations among specific cancer types,” said Rong Xu, Professor of biomedical informatics at the varsity’s School of Medicine.

In the second study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the team examined anonymous electronic health data from more than 262,847 adults 65 or older vaccinated between December 2020 and August 2021, and who didn’t have the infection before being vaccinated.

Vaccinated patients with dementia showed an overall risk for breakthrough infections ranging from 10.3 percent for Alzheimer’s disease to 14.3 percent for Lewy body dementia, significantly higher than the 5.6 percent in the vaccinated older adults without dementia.

“Continued vigilance is needed, even after vaccination, to protect this vulnerable population. Caregivers should consider ongoing masking and social distancing, as well as booster vaccines to protect these individuals,” said Pamela Davis, Professor at the School of Medicine.


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