A bout of COVID-19 is known to increase a person’s long-term risks of having a major cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke. But full or partial vaccination appears to reduce that risk A study published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The study, led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, took medical records from more than 1.9 million patients with COVID-19 between March 2020 and February 2022. Of those 1.9 million patients, a “major” adverse cardiovascular event,” meaning heart attack, stroke or another cardiovascular event, was diagnosed in 13,948 patients, and 3,175 died following the event.
Overall, the researchers found that vaccination—either in whole or in part—in the six months following an illness with Covid-19 was associated with fewer cardiovascular events. After adjusting for demographics, comorbidities, and time since the onset of the epidemic, being fully vaccinated reduced the risk of a major cardiac event by about 41 percent, while being partially vaccinated reduced the risk by 24 percent.
For those who had a major cardiac event, the median time to the event was 17 days after the onset of Covid-19 infection and 212 days (about seven months) from the last vaccine dose. Overall, regardless of vaccination status, those most at risk for heart disease after infection were men, older adults, and those with other underlying health conditions. Previous cardiac events increased the risk, but diabetes, liver disease, obesity, and high cholesterol were significant risk factors.
The study has some limitations. That is, it cannot account for reinfection or potential differences from infections with different SARS-CoV-2 strains. But its findings back up the results of previous reports, including a similar study done using a Korean medical database. It adds some new data to the literature by including partially vaccinated patients—defined as those who received only one dose of the two-dose mRNA vaccine series at the time of infection or within 14 days after a J&J. was fired.
In a statement, Joy Jiang, the study’s first author, noted that the researchers were surprised that even partial vaccination reduced the risk of major cardiac events. “Given the scale of SARS-CoV-2 infection worldwide, we believe our findings will help improve vaccination rates, particularly for individuals with co-existing conditions,” he added.