Millions with mood disorders now eligible for boosters

Erica Carbajal -

The inclusion of mood disorders in the CDC's recent update to its list of conditions tied to a higher risk of severe COVID-19 makes millions of people with such conditions now eligible for booster vaccine doses, The Washington Post reported Oct. 27. 

The recognition of certain mental health conditions — including mood disorders, depression, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders —  as risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness means people with the conditions are a priority group for booster doses, according to the CDC's eligibility requirements

"This is a population that is really, really at risk due to the way that COVID-19 interacts with the diagnoses," said Lisa Dailey, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center. "Until the CDC put this group of disorders on their list, they would not have known that," she told the Post

The news outlet cited federal data that showed more than 19 million people, or about 8 percent of U.S. adults, had at least one episode of depression in 2019. Of those, at least half received a depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia diagnosis. During the pandemic, the problem worsened, with a global study finding 53 million new depression cases were diagnosed in 2020. 

A growing body of research has found people with preexisting mood disorders have an increased risk of death from COVID-19, the Post reports. 

The latest addition of mental health disorders places it alongside conditions such as cancer, cerebrovascular disease, and pregnancy on the list of conditions that may make someone more likely to experience severe outcomes such as requiring hospitalization and ventilation from a COVID-19 infection.   

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