Mar 31, 2022 - Health

Study: Pregnancy nearly doubles risk of breakthrough COVID

Pregnant woman showing her COVID-19 vaccination card
A pregnant woman shows the vaccination card after receving a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19. Photo: RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP via Getty Images

Pregnancy nearly doubles the chances a person will have a breakthrough COVID-19 infection, according to new study released Thursday.

Why it matters: The findings, from Wisconsin-based company Epic, analyzed millions of patient records to home in on what comorbidities increase a person's risk of contracting the coronavirus while fully vaccinated. Pregnancy topped the list, according to the findings first reported by the Washington Post.

By the numbers: Pregnant individuals were 1.91 times more likely to have a breakthrough case when compared to the rest of the population.

  • Those with organ transplants were 1.83 times more likely to get COVID when vaccinated. Patients with an immune deficiency were 1.63 times more likely to get breakthrough COVID, researchers found.
  • The study did not find any increase or decrease with those who had Down syndrome or cancer.

Background: Epic's study relied on patient information stored in Cosmos, a data set of more than 140 million people, from 960 hospitals and 20,814 clinics, with patients in all 50 states.

What they're saying: "These findings support the CDC’s recommendation that patients with a high-risk comorbidity may need to use enhanced infection prevention control beyond vaccination to minimize the risk of a COVID-19 breakthrough infection," the study says.

Go deeper