Cancer And Dementia Patients Face Higher Risk Of Breakthrough Covid, Studies Find
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Topline

Vaccinated people with cancer or dementia face a higher risk of contracting breakthrough Covid-19 infections, according to a pair of new studies, leading researchers to argue high-risk patients still need extra measures to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

Key Facts

Vaccinated seniors with dementia had a more than 8% risk of breakthrough coronavirus infection, compared to a 5.6% risk for members of the same age group without dementia, according to a study by Case Western Reserve University researchers published by Alzheimer’s & Dementia last month.

Vaccinated people with cancer had a 13.6% risk of breakthrough infections, whereas vaccinated people without cancer had a 4.9% risk, a separate Case Western Reserve study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology found.

Cancers with the highest risk of a breakthrough coronavirus case were pancreatic (24.7%), liver (22.8%) and lung (20.4%), whereas thyroid (10.3%), endometrial (11.9%), and breast (11.9%) cancer carried the lowest breakthrough infection risk.

Vaccinated patients with Lewy body dementia, the second most common type of progressive dementia, faced a 14.3% risk of breakthrough coronavirus.

The Alzheimer’s & Dementia study said dementia patients may face a greater chance of breakthrough infection partly due to comorbidities associated with a high Covid-19 risk, including cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

Both studies analyzed data from thousands of patients across the United States, with the dementia-focused study spanning from December 2020 to August 2021 while the cancer research was conducted between December 2020 and November 2021.

Key Background

The authors of both studies said vaccinated people who are more vulnerable to Covid-19 due to medical conditions like cancer and dementia have a greater need for mitigation tactics like mask-wearing, especially as new virus variants continue to emerge and vaccine immunity wanes over time. Mask mandates and other preventative measures by state and local governments were increasingly rolled back over the course of the two studies, meaning they tracked the risk of breakthrough cases as mitigation measures started to disappear.

Key Background

The authors of both studies said vaccinated people who are more vulnerable to Covid-19 due to medical conditions like cancer and dementia have a greater need for mitigation tactics like mask-wearing, especially as new virus variants continue to emerge and vaccine immunity wanes over time. Mask mandates and other preventative measures by state and local governments were increasingly rolled back over the course of the two studies, meaning they tracked the risk of breakthrough cases as mitigation measures started to disappear.

Further Reading

Breakthrough COVID infections more likely in cancer and Alzheimer’s patients, studies find (The Daily)

Which Groups Are The Most Vulnerable To Breakthrough Covid-19 Infection? (Forbes)

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