Evidence for increased breakthrough rates of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in BNT162b2 mRNA vaccinated individuals
Shifra Ken Dror,
Yonat Shemer Avni,
Ran D. Balicer,
Posted 09 Apr 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.06.21254882
Posted 09 Apr 2021
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been raging for over a year, creating global detrimental impact. The BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine has demonstrated high protection levels, yet apprehension exists that several variants of concerns (VOCs) can surmount the immune defenses generated by the vaccines. Neutralization assays have revealed some reduction in neutralization of VOCs B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, but the relevance of these assays in real life remains unclear. Here, we performed a case-control study that examined whether BNT162b2 vaccinees with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection were more likely to become infected with B.1.1.7 or B.1.351 compared with unvaccinated individuals. Vaccinees infected at least a week after the second dose were disproportionally infected with B.1.351 (odds ratio of 8:1). Those infected between two weeks after the first dose and one week after the second dose, were disproportionally infected by B.1.1.7 (odds ratio of 26:10), suggesting reduced vaccine effectiveness against both VOCs under different dosage/timing conditions. Nevertheless, the B.1.351 incidence in Israel to-date remains low and vaccine effectiveness remains high against B.1.1.7, among those fully vaccinated. These results overall suggest that vaccine breakthrough infection is more frequent with both VOCs, yet a combination of mass-vaccination with two doses coupled with non-pharmaceutical interventions control and contain their spread.
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