MedStar Health Study on Hospital Trends After Vaccination Reinforces Safety and Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccine

MedStar Health Study on Hospital Trends After Vaccination Reinforces Safety and Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccine

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Throughout the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have faced many challenges in the face of this unpredictable and unrelenting virus. However, one of the single greatest advancements has been the creation, approval, and implementation of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The COVID19 vaccines have undergone through the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history and have been proven to be safe and effective. To date, hundreds of millions of people have safely received a COVID-19 vaccine, and serious safety problems are rare. Nonetheless, there remains concern in the general population about the vaccine and its potential effect on the heart.

As investigators and clinicians serving our community, it is our responsibility to contribute to the science around the cardiovascular safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in diverse populations and to explore the relationship between vaccination status and cardiovascular hospital encounters.

In a recent study, researchers at MedStar Washington Hospital Center analyzed trends of hospital encounters 30 days before and 60 days after vaccination to further explore potential adverse events or risk for other health issues “Implications of COVID-19 Vaccination on Hospital Encounters and Outcomes” was published in The American Journal of Cardiology.

The study observed over 5,000 patients who were vaccinated against COVID-19 and then divided the population into 3 cohorts: fully vaccinated, in vaccination window, and before vaccination. Most patients received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (60.3%), with the remaining patients receiving the Moderna vaccine (32.2%) or the Johnson and Johnson vaccine (7.5%).

The results of the study show there is no significant association of COVID-19 vaccination with the rate of hospital encounters for cardiac disease, including acute coronary syndrome, pericarditis, myocarditis, congestive heart failure, and conduction abnormality. In addition, there was no difference when it came to gastrointestinal disorders, hematologic disorders, genitourinary disorders, and multiple other diagnoses. The research team found that hospital visits for complications related to COVID-19 decreased significantly from those before vaccination (5.4%) to those in vaccination window (4.2%) to those who were fully vaccinated (1.6%). As expected, respiratory infection significantly decreased after full vaccination.

The study team concludes that this analysis highlights the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines overall. COVID-19 infections decreased along with the rate of serious infections highlighted by acute respiratory failure for those who received partial or full vaccination. Ongoing efforts to roll out the COVID-19 vaccines are imperative to help fight this deadly infection. Further, administration of the vaccine resulted in a significant decrease in hospital encounters for respiratory infections, COVID-19 infections, and associated complications.

The research team included Brian C. Case, MD; Benjamin Rosenfeld, MD; Corey Shea, MS; Hank Rappaport, MD; Cheng Zhang, PhD; Giorgio A. Medranda, MD; Lowell Satler, MD; Itsik Ben-Dor, MD; Hayder Hashim, MD; Toby Rogers, MD, PhD; and Ron Waksman, MD from the Section of Interventional Cardiology at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

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