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The emergence of the COVID-19 vaccination has been critical in changing the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure protection remains high in vulnerable groups booster vaccinations in the UK have been targeted based on age and clinical vulnerabilities. We undertook a national retrospective cohort study using data from the 2021 Census linked to electronic health records. We fitted cause-specific Cox models to examine the association between health conditions and the risk of COVID-19 death and all-other-cause death for adults aged 50-100-years in England vaccinated with a booster in autumn 2022. Here we show, having learning disabilities or Down Syndrome (hazard ratio=5.07;95% confidence interval=3.69-6.98), pulmonary hypertension or fibrosis (2.88;2.43-3.40), motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia or Huntington’s disease (2.94, 1.82-4.74), cancer of blood and bone marrow (3.11;2.72-3.56), Parkinson’s disease (2.74;2.34-3.20), lung or oral cancer (2.57;2.04 to 3.24), dementia (2.64;2.46 to 2.83) or liver cirrhosis (2.65;1.95 to 3.59) was associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 death. Individuals with cancer of the blood or bone marrow, chronic kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypotension or fibrosis, or rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus had a significantly higher risk of COVID-19 death relative to other causes of death compared with individuals who did not have diagnoses. Policy makers should continue to priorities vulnerable groups for subsequent COVID-19 booster doses to minimise the risk of COVID-19 death.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature Communications

Publication Date