FRIDAY, April 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Fully vaccinated individuals with psychiatric disorders may be at increased risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) breakthrough infection, according to a study published online April 14 in JAMA Network Open.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patients from Feb. 20, 2020, to Nov. 16, 2021, Kristen Nishimi, Ph.D., from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and colleagues examined whether past diagnoses of psychiatric disorders are associated with increased incidence of SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infection among fully vaccinated individuals. Data were included for 263,697 patients who accessed VA health care during the study period and had completed full SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, with no record of SARS-CoV-2 infection prior to vaccination.

The researchers found that 51.4 percent of the fully vaccinated patients had at least one psychiatric disorder diagnosis and 14.8 percent developed a breakthrough infection. In models adjusted for potential confounders and additionally adjusted for medical comorbidities and smoking, a diagnosis of any psychiatric disorder was associated with increased incidence of breakthrough infection (adjusted relative risks, 1.07 and 1.03, respectively). Increased incidence of breakthrough infection was seen in association with most specific psychiatric disorder diagnoses, with the highest relative risks observed for adjustment disorder and substance use disorders in fully adjusted models (adjusted relative risks, 1.13 and 1.16, respectively).

“Our findings indicate that individuals with psychiatric disorders may be a high-risk group for COVID-19 and that this group should be prioritized for booster vaccinations and other critical preventive efforts, including increased SARS-CoV-2 screening, public health campaigns, or COVID-19 discussions during clinical care,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Silo Pharma.

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