Mental Disorder May Raise Risk of Breakthrough COVID-19, Study Shows

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Depression - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.04.2022
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a breakthrough COVID-19 infection as “a small percentage of fully vaccinated persons” who “will still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus that causes it”.
People who have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 infection and have a certain mental disorder on record may face a higher risk of breakthrough infections, a study by the University of California shows.
It means that a small group of people who have received COVID-19 vaccine shots but also have a psychiatric diagnosis are still likely to contract the infection.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have analysed data from 263,697 US Department of Veterans Affairs patients who had been vaccinated against COVID and had at least one COVID-19 test. The researchers concluded that more than 51 percent of these patients had received at least one psychiatric diagnosis within the last five years and 14.8 percent experienced a breakthrough COVID-19 infection.

“Our research suggests that increased breakthrough infections in people with psychiatric disorders cannot be entirely explained by socio-demographic factors or pre-existing conditions...It’s possible that immunity following vaccination wanes more quickly or more strongly for people with psychiatric disorders and/or they could have less protection to newer variants”, the study's senior author, Aoife O’Donovan said, as quoted by The Hill.

Patients in the 65+ group suffering from substance abuse disorder, anxiety, psychotic disorders, and bipolar disorder had increased risks of up to 24 percent for a breakthrough coronavirus infection. At the same time, patients younger than 65 faced 11 percent greater risk of a breakthrough case than those without a history of mental illness. According to the study's first author Kristen Nishimi, the higher incidence of breakthrough COVID cases in 65+ patients can be explained by the “decreased immunological response to vaccine that has been associated with some psychiatric disorders, which may be more substantial in older adults”.
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