Immunocompromised more likely to have breakthrough COVID cases, hospitalization

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Today, the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Lung Association and American Thoracic Society released the following statement in response to the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations:

Recently, there has been a dramatic rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to the highly contagious Delta variant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review, vaccinated immunocompromised people are more likely to have breakthrough infections leading to hospitalization. The CDC reports that “44% of hospitalized breakthrough cases are immunocompromised people.”

Our organizations urge every eligible person to get vaccinated, to wear a mask in indoor public spaces no matter your COVID-19 vaccination status, and to follow other CDC guidelines like maintaining social distancing, including avoiding crowded indoor spaces, washing your hands often, and staying home if you feel unwell. It is important for everyone to follow CDC guidelines; these recommendations are especially important to protect the immunocompromised population, including those with cancer, who are at higher risk for COVID-19 hospitalization and death, even when vaccinated.

Currently, three COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, safe and effectively reduce your risk of severe illness. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Comirnaty, has recently received full Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

Wearing a mask is the best way to minimize the number of droplets and aerosols you inhale and decreases your risk of infection. If you are infected, experiencing mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, wearing a mask reduces your risk of spreading the virus and infecting others. Wearing a mask has no impact on oxygen levels, even for those with chronic lung diseases.

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