Study: Vaccinated Patients Less Likely to Need Critical Care During Omicron Surge

During the period in which Omicron was the dominant variant, the researchers found that fewer patients died while hospitalized compared with those admitted when the Delta variant was dominant.

Vaccinated patients with COVID-19 who were admitted to the hospital during the Omicron variant surge were found to have less severe illness than unvaccinated patients and were also less likely to be admitted to intensive care, according to a study by Cedars-Sinai and the CDC.

"Overall, the omicron-period group had a lower likelihood of being admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and were also less likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation compared with the delta-period group,” said co-first study author Matthew Modes, MD, a pulmonologist at Cedars-Sinai, in the press release.

During the period in which Omicron was the dominant variant, the researchers found that fewer patients died while hospitalized compared with those admitted when the Delta variant was dominant.

The single-hospital study, which was published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, evaluated the characteristics of 339 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from July to September 2021. This patient population, who were hospitalized during the Delta variant surge, was compared to 737 patients who were admitted with COVID-19 from December 2021 to January 2022, when the Omicron variant was prevalent.

An evaluation of clinical information from electronic health records showed that a greater portion of the patients hospitalized when Omicron was dominant were vaccinated compared to patients hospitalized during summer 2021, when the Delta variant was dominant. This likely reflected the higher percentage of the populations who were vaccinated during the Omicron wave, according to the study.

“In addition to the protection that vaccination offered people admitted to the hospital when omicron dominated, we saw that the addition of a booster dose appeared to be particularly important in reducing the severity of illness, especially among older adults,” said senior study author Peter Chen, MD, director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, in the press release. “Unvaccinated patients hospitalized with COVID-19 during the omicron variant dominance still had a higher chance of being admitted with serious complications and appeared to be at higher risk for the development of respiratory failure, compared with vaccinated patients.”

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19, including a booster dose for those who are fully vaccinated, remains critical for mitigating the risk of severe illness associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to the researchers.

REFERENCE

Vaccinated Patients Less Likely to Need Critical Care During Omicron Surge. Cedars-Sinai. February 10, 2022. Accessed February 11, 2022. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/newsroom/vaccinated-patients-less-likely-to-need-critical-care-during-omicron-surge/#:~:text=Among%20those%20admitted%20during%20the,Control%20and%20Prevention%20(CDC).