Waning of BNT162b2 vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in Qatar
Mohammad Rubayet Hasan,
HADI M. YASSINE,
Hebah A. Al Khatib,
Houssein H. Ayoub,
Zaina Al Kanaani,
Einas Al Kuwari,
Anvar Hassan Kaleeckal,
Ali Nizar Latif,
Riyazuddin Mohammad Shaik,
Hanan F. Abdul Rahim,
Gheyath A Nasrallah,
Mohamed Ghaith Al Kuwari,
Hamad Eid Al Romaihi,
Adeel A Butt,
Mohamed H. Al-Thani,
Abdullatif Al Khal,
Laith J Abu-Raddad
Posted 27 Aug 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.08.25.21262584
Posted 27 Aug 2021
BACKGROUND: Waning of vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 disease is a concern. This study investigated persistence of BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine effectiveness against infection and disease in Qatar, where the Beta and Delta variants have dominated incidence and PCR testing is done at a mass scale. METHODS: A matched test-negative, case-control study design was used to estimate vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection and against any severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 disease, between January 1, 2021 to August 15, 2021. RESULTS: Estimated BNT162b2 effectiveness against any infection, asymptomatic or symptomatic, was negligible for the first two weeks after the first dose, increased to 36.5% (95% CI: 33.1-39.8) in the third week after the first dose, and reached its peak at 72.1% (95% CI: 70.9-73.2) in the first five weeks after the second dose. Effectiveness declined gradually thereafter, with the decline accelerating [≥]15 weeks after the second dose, reaching diminished levels of protection by the 20th week. Effectiveness against symptomatic infection was higher than against asymptomatic infection, but still waned in the same fashion. Effectiveness against any severe, critical, or fatal disease increased rapidly to 67.7% (95% CI: 59.1-74.7) by the third week after the first dose, and reached 95.4% (95% CI: 93.4-96.9) in the first five weeks after the second dose, where it persisted at about this level for six months. CONCLUSIONS: BNT162b2-induced protection against infection appears to wane rapidly after its peak right after the second dose, but it persists at a robust level against hospitalization and death for at least six months following the second dose.
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