Mental illness does not diminish COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

A large multi-state electronic health record-based study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) VISION Network has found that COVID-19 vaccines are as effective for adults with anxiety or depression or mood disorders as for individuals without these common diagnoses. This is one of the first studies to evaluate COVID-19 mRNA vaccine effectiveness for those living with mental illness.

While vaccination provided similar protection regardless of psychiatric diagnosis (none, one or multiple conditions), in contrast, unvaccinated adults with any of these conditions had a higher rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 – a marker for severe disease – than did those without a psychiatric diagnosis.

Both these findings held true whether two, three or four vaccinations were received and for ages 18-49, 50-64 and 65 and older.

Although mental health conditions can tax the immune system, putting stress on the body, we saw similar COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness in people with psychiatric diagnoses compared with those without. That's encouraging."

Shaun Grannis, M.D., M.S., study co-author, Regenstrief Institute vice president for data and analytics

"But we also found that the risk of COVID-19 associated hospitalization is higher among unvaccinated patients with a psychiatric diagnosis," added Dr. Grannis. "For patients with a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or mood disorders who are wondering if the COVID vaccine would be valuable, this paper gives us evidence that the vaccine maintains its effectiveness even in the face of mental illness. So, I would encourage vaccination because it reduces the risk of hospitalization significantly."

Psychiatric disorders have been associated with lower antibody positivity and reduced immune response to other vaccines. Prior to this study, it was not known whether anxiety, depression, or mood disorders influence COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness.

"While the evidence on vaccine effectiveness for the overall population is well-established, many people still have questions about whether someone like them should get the vaccine or whether people like them benefit from the vaccine," said study co-author Brian Dixon, PhD, MPA, interim director of Regenstrief Institute's Clem McDonald Center for Bioinformatics. "Studies like this one help answer those questions for large segments of society. Our network will continue to pursue rigorous studies on important, vulnerable populations. That is, after all, the work we do in public health."

"Risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and protection associated with mRNA vaccination among US adults with psychiatric disorders" is published in the peer-reviewed journal Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses. The study was funded by the CDC.

Journal reference:

Levy, M. E., et al. (2024). Risk of COVID‐19 Hospitalization and Protection Associated With mRNA Vaccination Among US Adults With Psychiatric Disorders. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Can vitamin D3 supplementation reduce COVID-19 severity?