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Association Between Vaccination Status and Mortality Among Intubated Patients With COVID-19–Related Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

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Key Points

Question  Is there an association between COVID-19 vaccination status and mortality among critically ill patients who require invasive mechanical ventilation owing to acute respiratory distress syndrome related to COVID-19?

Findings  In this multicenter cohort study comprising 265 patients, after adjustment for confounders, full vaccination status compared with controls was associated with lower mortality among critically ill patients who required invasive mechanical ventilation owing to COVID-19–related acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Meaning  The findings of this study suggest that full vaccination may be associated with lower mortality among patients who were intubated owing to COVID-19–related acute respiratory distress syndrome; therefore, total benefits of vaccination against COVID-19 may exceed those estimated from the prevention of invasive mechanical ventilation alone.

Abstract

Importance  Although vaccination substantially reduces the risk of severe COVID-19, it is yet unknown whether vaccinated patients who develop COVID-19 and require invasive mechanical ventilation have lower mortality than controls.

Objective  To examine the association between COVID-19 vaccination status and mortality among critically ill patients who require invasive mechanical ventilation owing to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) related to COVID-19.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This multicenter cohort study was performed between June 7, 2021, and February 1, 2022, among 265 consecutive adult patients with COVID-19 in academic intensive care units who underwent invasive mechanical ventilation owing to ARDS.

Exposures  Patients in the full vaccination group had completed the primary COVID-19 vaccination series more than 14 days but less than 5 months prior to intubation. This time threshold was chosen because guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a booster dose beyond that time. The remaining patients (ie, those who were unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or fully vaccinated <14 days or >5 months before intubation) comprised the control group.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome was time from intubation to all-cause intensive care unit mortality. A Cox proportional hazards regression model including vaccination status, age, comorbid conditions, and baseline Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score on the day of intubation was used.

Results  A total of 265 intubated patients (170 men [64.2%]; median age, 66.0 years [IQR, 58.0-76.0 years]; 26 [9.8%] in the full vaccination group) were included in the study. A total of 20 patients (76.9%) in the full vaccination group received the BNT162b2 vaccine, and the remaining 6 (23.1%) received the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine. Patients in the full vaccination group were older (median age, 72.5 years [IQR, 62.8-80.0 years] vs 66.0 years [IQR, 57.0-75.0 years]) and more likely to have comorbid conditions (24 of 26 [92.3%] vs 160 of 239 [66.9%]), including malignant neoplasm (6 of 26 [23.1%] vs 18 of 239 [7.5%]), than those in the control group. Full vaccination status was significantly associated with lower mortality compared with controls (16 of 26 patients [61.5%] died in the full vaccination group vs 163 of 239 [68.2%] in the control group; hazard ratio, 0.55 [95% CI, 0.32-0.94]; P = .03).

Conclusions and Relevance  In this cohort study, full vaccination status was associated with lower mortality compared with controls, which suggests that vaccination might be beneficial even among patients who were intubated owing to COVID-19–related ARDS. These results may inform discussions with families about prognosis.

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Article Information

Accepted for Publication: August 19, 2022.

Published: October 7, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.35219

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2022 Grapsa E et al. JAMA Network Open.

Corresponding Author: Ilias I. Siempos, MD, DSc, First Department of Critical Care Medicine and Pulmonary Services, Evangelismos Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Medical School, 45-47 Ipsilantou St, 10676 Athens, Greece (isiempos@yahoo.com).

Author Contributions: Drs Giannakoulis and Siempos had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Ms Grapsa and Dr Adamos contributed equally to this work.

Concept and design: Grapsa, Adamos, Giannakoulis, Gavrielatou, Papathanakos, Magira, Koulouras, Kotanidou, Siempos.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Grapsa, Adamos, Andrianopoulos, Tsolaki, Giannakoulis, Karavidas, Giannopoulou, Sarri, Mizi, Gavrielatou, Mantzarlis, Mastora, Magira.

Drafting of the manuscript: Grapsa, Tsolaki, Karavidas, Giannopoulou, Sarri, Mizi, Papathanakos, Koulouras, Siempos.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Grapsa, Adamos, Andrianopoulos, Tsolaki, Giannakoulis, Gavrielatou, Mantzarlis, Mastora, Magira, Koulouras, Kotanidou.

Statistical analysis: Grapsa, Giannakoulis, Gavrielatou.

Obtained funding: Kotanidou, Siempos.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Grapsa, Tsolaki, Giannopoulou, Sarri, Mizi, Gavrielatou, Mantzarlis, Mastora, Magira.

Supervision: Grapsa, Papathanakos, Koulouras, Kotanidou, Siempos.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Funding/Support: This study was supported by a grant to Dr Siempos from the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (H.F.R.I.) under the “2nd Call for H.F.R.I Research Projects to support Post-Doctoral Researchers” (Project 80-1/15.10.2020).

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funding source had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

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