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30-11-2021 | COVID-19 | News

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Study highlights ‘critical importance’ of full COVID-19 vaccination in RMD patients

Claire Barnard

medwireNews: People with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) who experience breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection after vaccination have lower rates of poor COVID-19 outcomes than their unvaccinated counterparts, researchers report.

The study involved 195 patients with RMDs and COVID-19 who were included in the Greek Rheumatology Society registry between March 2020 and August 2021. A total of 48 people developed COVID-19 following receipt of at least one dose of the Pfizer–BioNTech (BNT162b2) or Oxford–AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1 nCoV-2019) vaccine, while the remaining 147 were unvaccinated at the time of infection.

Petros Sfikakis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece) and team found that the 29 patients who developed COVID-19 at least 14 days after their second dose (fully vaccinated group) had significantly lower hospitalization rates than those who were unvaccinated, at 10.3% versus 29.3%.

People who developed COVID-19 after their first vaccine dose (partially vaccinated group; n=19) had numerically lower hospitalization rates than those in the unvaccinated group (21.0 vs 29.3%), but the between-group difference did not reach statistical significance. None of the patients who had been fully or partially vaccinated died, compared with 4.1% of the unvaccinated group.

“Noteworthy is that seven patients who were on rituximab […] recovered fully, although three out of five unvaccinated patients were hospitalized,” write the researchers in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

They say that their study results emphasize the “critical importance of full SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in patients with [RMDs].”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2021 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group 

30 November 2021: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Ann Rheum Dis 2021; doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2021-221539

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