Waning effectiveness of BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 covid-19 vaccines over six months since second dose: OpenSAFELY cohort study using linked electronic health records
Horne EMF., Hulme WJ., Keogh RH., Palmer TM., Williamson EJ., Parker EPK., Green A., Walker V., Walker AJ., Curtis H., Fisher L., MacKenna B., Croker R., Hopcroft L., Park RY., Massey J., Morley J., Mehrkar A., Bacon S., Evans D., Inglesby P., Morton CE., Hickman G., Davy S., Ward T., Dillingham I., Goldacre B., Hernán MA., Sterne JAC.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate waning of covid-19 vaccine effectiveness over six months after second dose. DESIGN: Cohort study, approved by NHS England. SETTING: Linked primary care, hospital, and covid-19 records within the OpenSAFELY-TPP database. PARTICIPANTS: Adults without previous SARS-CoV-2 infection were eligible, excluding care home residents and healthcare professionals. EXPOSURES: People who had received two doses of BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 (administered during the national vaccine rollout) were compared with unvaccinated people during six consecutive comparison periods, each of four weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Adjusted hazard ratios for covid-19 related hospital admission, covid-19 related death, positive SARS-CoV-2 test, and non-covid-19 related death comparing vaccinated with unvaccinated people. Waning vaccine effectiveness was quantified as ratios of adjusted hazard ratios per four week period, separately for subgroups aged ≥65 years, 18-64 years and clinically vulnerable, 40-64 years, and 18-39 years. RESULTS: 1 951 866 and 3 219 349 eligible adults received two doses of BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1, respectively, and 2 422 980 remained unvaccinated. Waning of vaccine effectiveness was estimated to be similar across outcomes and vaccine brands. In the ≥65 years subgroup, ratios of adjusted hazard ratios for covid-19 related hospital admission, covid-19 related death, and positive SARS-CoV-2 test ranged from 1.19 (95% confidence interval 1.14 to 1.24)to 1.34 (1.09 to 1.64) per four weeks. Despite waning vaccine effectiveness, rates of covid-19 related hospital admission and death were substantially lower among vaccinated than unvaccinated adults up to 26 weeks after the second dose, with estimated vaccine effectiveness ≥80% for BNT162b2, and ≥75% for ChAdOx1. By weeks 23-26, rates of positive SARS-CoV-2 test in vaccinated people were similar to or higher than in unvaccinated people (adjusted hazard ratios up to 1.72 (1.11 to 2.68) for BNT162b2 and 1.86 (1.79 to 1.93) for ChAdOx1). CONCLUSIONS: The rate at which estimated vaccine effectiveness waned was consistent for covid-19 related hospital admission, covid-19 related death, and positive SARS-CoV-2 test and was similar across subgroups defined by age and clinical vulnerability. If sustained to outcomes of infection with the omicron variant and to booster vaccination, these findings will facilitate scheduling of booster vaccination.