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People with chronic conditions, Indian backgrounds more susceptible to Covid even after vaccine: UK study

The reason certain ethnic groups are more susceptible to contracting the infection could be due to various social considerations, the researcher said.


September 19, 2021 11:03:32 am
Based on this data, they found that the Covid vaccine did not offer the same level of protection against hospitalisation and death to all groups. Certain groups were at higher risk of falling severely ill. (AP/File Photo)

A recent UK study found that people living with chronic conditions such as Down’s syndrome, older people, men, as well as people from Pakistani and Indian backgrounds are more likely to end up in hospital or die even after receiving both doses of the Covid vaccine.

A team of researchers from the Universities of Oxford, Edinburgh and Nottingham developed a calculator to identify those at highest risk of contracting severe illness despite being fully vaccinated, the Guardian reported. They examined the hospital records of around 6.9 million fully and partially vaccinated adults, 5.2 million of whom had received both doses of the vaccine.

Based on this data, they found that the Covid vaccine did not offer the same level of protection against hospitalisation and death to all groups. Certain groups were at higher risk of falling severely ill. The research found that people with Down’s syndrome had a roughly 13-fold increased risk of death from Covid, when compared to the rest of the population. Those with dementia and Parkinson’s disease had about a twofold increase, The Guardian reported.

According to Aziz Sheikh, professor of primary care research and development and director of the Usher Institute at The University of Edinburgh and a co-author of the paper, increased risk could be due to more exposure to the deadly virus. Apart from older people, men and those from Indian and Pakistani backgrounds, people from deprived backgrounds, the immunosuppressed, and people in care homes also face greater risk, the study found.

The reason certain ethnic groups are more susceptible to contracting the infection could be due to various social considerations, Sheikh said. “I think with the two subgroups that remain, this is speculative, but these groups – the Indians and Pakistanis – do tend to have slightly higher household sizes and so there may be that kind of within household transmission going on,” he told Sky News.

They calculated risk based on measures such as age, sex, ethnicity and the background rate of Covid infections.

They suggest that their risk calculator could be useful to identify sections of the population in the UK that would benefit from booster shots or early intervention — including the use of newer therapies such as monoclonal antibodies, BBC reported.

“The UK was the first place to implement a vaccination programme and has some of the best clinical research data in the world. We have developed this new tool using the QResearch database, to help the NHS identify which patients are at highest risk of serious outcomes despite vaccination for targeted intervention,” Julia Hippisley-Cox, co-author of the paper, said in a statement.

The latest risk calculator is an updated version of a similar tool developed last year, using data from over 6 million people to predict Covid outcomes.

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