TUESDAY, Aug. 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The presence of hypertension is associated with an increased risk for hospitalization for omicron infection among individuals who received at least three mRNA COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to a research letter published online July 20 in Hypertension.

Joseph Ebinger, M.D., from the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the characteristics associated with severe omicron infection necessitating hospitalization, despite receipt of three doses of an mRNA vaccine in a retrospective cohort study.

The researchers identified 912 individuals who received at least three mRNA vaccine doses and were subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19 during the omicron surge; 15.9 percent required hospitalization. Older age, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and myocardial infarction or heart failure were factors significantly associated with the risk for hospitalization for omicron infection, as was longer duration between the last vaccination and infection. The greatest magnitude of risk was seen in association with the presence of hypertension, which remained significant in sensitivity analyses, and when angiotensin-converting enzyme/angiotensin receptor blocker use was excluded from the model.

“We need to raise awareness and understanding that receiving three doses of a vaccine may not prevent severe COVID-19 in everyone, especially among people with high blood pressure,” Ebinger said in a statement. “We also need more research to understand why there is this link between high blood pressure and an excess risk for more severe COVID-19 illness.”

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