Publication Date



Cell Metabolism


Breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections of vaccinated individuals are being reported globally, resulting in an increased risk of hospitalization and death among such patients. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the modifiable risk factors that may affect the protective efficacy of vaccine use against the development of severe COVID-19 and thus to initiate early medical interventions. Here, in population-based studies using the UK Biobank database and the 2021 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), we analyzed 20,362 participants aged 50 years or older and 2,588 aged 18 years or older from both databases who tested positive for SARS-COV-2, of whom 33.1% and 67.7% received one or more doses of vaccine, respectively. In the UK Biobank, participants are followed from the vaccination date until October 18, 2021. We found that obesity and metabolic abnormalities (namely, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension) were modifiable factors for severe COVID-19 in vaccinated patients (all p < 0.05). When metabolic abnormalities were present, regardless of obesity, the risk of severe COVID-19 was higher than that of metabolically normal individuals (all p < 0.05). Moreover, pharmacological interventions targeting such abnormalities (namely, antihypertensive [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 0.64, 95% CI 0.48-0.86; p = 0.003], glucose-lowering [aHR 0.55, 95% CI 0.36-0.83; p = 0.004], and lipid-lowering treatments [aHR 0.50, 95% CI 0.37-0.68; p < 0.001]) were significantly associated with a reduced risk for this outcome. These results show that more proactive health management of patients with obesity and metabolic abnormalities is critical to reduce the incidence of severe COVID-19 after vaccination.


Humans, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Vaccination, Obesity, Risk Factors



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