Scientists from Case Western Reserve University found that breakthrough COVID-19 cases resulting in infections, hospitalizations and deaths are much more likely in cancer and Alzheimer’s patients.
People with these diseases are often more susceptible to infection in general and are among the population’s most vulnerable to severe health outcomes from COVID-19 infections as well.
The research is published in JAMA and Alzheimer’s & Dementia and was conducted by Rong Xu et al.
The first study analyzed electronic health records to track the number of breakthrough COVID infections, hospitalizations and mortality rates among vaccinated patients with cancer.
A “breakthrough infection” is when a fully vaccinated person contracts COVID.
The research team counted people diagnosed with the 12 most common types of cancer: lung, breast, colorectal, bladder, liver, endometrial, skin, prostate, thyroid and blood cancers.
These participants received COVID-19 vaccinations between December 2020 and November 2021 and had not previously been infected. The control group consisted of vaccinated participants without cancer.
The team analyzed the records of more than 636,000 vaccinated patients, including more than 45,000 vaccinated people with cancer.
They found 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.
In a second study, researchers analyzed electronic health data to examine the incidence rate of breakthrough COVID-19 infections in those diagnosed with some subtypes of dementia.
The researchers 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.
Of that number, 2,764 people were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; 1,244 with vascular dementia, 259 with Lewy body dementia, 229 with frontotemporal dementia and 4,385 with mild cognitive impairment.
The team found that vaccinated patients with dementia had an overall risk for breakthrough infections ranging from 10.3% for Alzheimer’s disease to 14.3% for Lewy body dementia, much higher than the 5.6% in the vaccinated older adults without dementia.
The researchers say that patients with dementia have a much higher rate of breakthrough COVID infections after vaccination than patients of the same age and risk factors other than dementia.
Therefore, continued vigilance is needed, even after vaccination, to protect this vulnerable population.
If you care about Covid, please read studies about why people with blood Type O less likely to get COVID-19, and scientists find a new drug that could prevent COVID-19.
For more information about Covid, please see recent studies about antibodies that can neutralize Omicron, and results showing current COVID-19 vaccines cannot effectively prevent omicron infection.
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