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Objectives: Despite being prioritized during initial COVID-19 vaccine rollout, vulnerable individuals at high risk of severe COVID-19 (hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, or death) remain underrepresented in vaccine effectiveness (VE) studies. The RAVEN cohort study (NCT05047822) assessed AZD1222 (ChAdOx1 nCov-19) two-dose primary series VE in vulnerable populations. Methods: Using the Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners Clinical Informatics Digital Hub, linked to secondary care, death registration, and COVID-19 datasets in England, COVID-19 outcomes in 2021 were compared in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals matched on age, sex, region, and multimorbidity. Results: Over 4.5 million AZD1222 recipients were matched (mean follow-up ∼5 months); 68% were ≥50 years, 57% had high multimorbidity. Overall, high VE against severe COVID-19 was demonstrated, with lower VE observed in vulnerable populations. VE against hospitalization was higher in the lowest multimorbidity quartile (91.1%; 95% CI: 90.1, 92.0) than the highest quartile (80.4%; 79.7, 81.1), and among individuals ≥65 years, higher in the ‘fit’ (86.2%; 84.5, 87.6) than the frailest (71.8%; 69.3, 74.2). VE against hospitalization was lowest in immunosuppressed individuals (64.6%; 60.7, 68.1). Conclusions: Based on integrated and comprehensive UK health data, overall population-level VE with AZD1222 was high. VEs were notably lower in vulnerable groups, particularly the immunosuppressed.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Infection

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