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EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-330319


Background Long-term care facilities (LTCF) have been prioritised for vaccination, but data on potential waning of vaccine effectiveness (VE) and the impact of booster doses in this vulnerable population remains scarce. Methods We included residents and staff from 331 LTCFs enrolled in VIVALDI ( ISRCTN 14447421 ), who underwent routine PCR testing between Dec 8, 2020 - Dec 11, 2021 in a Cox proportional hazards regression, estimating VE against SARS-CoV2 infection, COVID-19-related hospitalisation, and COVID-19-related death after 1-3 vaccine doses, stratifying by previous SARS-CoV2 exposure. Results For 15,518 older residents, VE declined from 50·7% (15·5, 71·3) to 17·2% (∼23·9, 44·6) against infection;from 85·4% (60·7, 94·.6) to 54·3% (26·2, 71·7) against hospitalisation;and from 94·4% (76·4, 98·7) to 62·8% (32·9, 79·4) against death, when comparing 2-12 weeks and ≥12 weeks after two doses. For 19,515 staff, VE against infection declined slightly from 50·3% (32·7, 63·3) to 42·1% 29·5, 52·4). High VE was restored following a third dose, with VE of 71·6% (53·5, 82·7) and 78·3% (70·1, 84·3) against infection and 89·9% (80·0, 94·6) and 95·8% (50·4, 99·6) against hospitalisation, for residents and staff respectively;and 97·5% (88·1, 99·5) against death for residents. Interpretation Substantial waning of VE is observed against all outcomes in residents from 12 weeks after a primary course of AstraZeneca or mRNA vaccines. Boosters restore protection, and maximise immunity across all outcomes. These findings demonstrate the importance of boosting and the need for ongoing surveillance of VE in this vulnerable cohort. Funding UK Government Department of Health and Social Care. Research in Context Evidence before this study We searched MEDLINE and medRxiv for studies reporting vaccine effectiveness (VE) over time after two or three doses against SARS-CoV2 infection, COVID-19-related hospitalisation, or COVID-19-related death amongst staff or residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs), that were published between Jan 1, 2020, and December 21, 2021. We used variations of the search terms “COVID-19” OR “SARS-CoV-2” AND “vaccine effectiveness” OR “vaccine efficacy” AND “care homes” OR “long term care facilities”. We identified 8 articles reporting two-dose data from LTCFs, including 1 peer-reviewed paper from Israel, 1 preprint from Denmark, 1 preprint from Norway, 1 peer-reviewed paper from France, two peer-reviewed papers from Spain, 1 peer-reviewed paper from the USA, and 1 preprint from England;however none of these studies examined waning of protection over time after two doses. Five studies (mRNA vaccines 3-4 weeks interval) reported short-term two-dose VE of 49-71% in residents, and 82-90% in staff. Two-dose VE was reported to be 75-88% against hospitalisation, 87-97% against death, and 86% against either outcome. An English study of residents (Pfizer or AstraZeneca, 8-12 week interval) reported 73% VE against infection and noted VE waning from 7 weeks after the first dose, but did not examine waning after the second dose. All of these studies were set prior to emergence of the Delta variant and did not examine waning of immunity due to short lengths of follow-up after Dose 2. Only one study (USA) compared Pfizer/Moderna two-dose VE against infection in LTCF residents before (67·5% [60·1-73·5%]) and during (53·1% [49·1-56·7%]) Delta variant predominance;however, authors could not access vaccination dates therefore did not account for any waning of immunity over time;they also did not examine any severe clinical outcomes. We identified only one correspondence piece from Israel (Pfizer 3-4 week interval) describing the benefit of a third ‘booster’ dose in LTCFs;it reported relative rate reductions of 71% for infection and 80%, for hospitalisation in the period after booster roll-out. However, individual-level VE estimates by time since vaccination were not reported, and adju tment for prior infection was not undertaken. Overall, there was a paucity of data on non-mRNA vaccines, waning of immunity over time after two doses, and VE following a third (booster) dose in LTCF populations, which we address in this study. Added value of this study We report findings from a prospective cohort study that includes 15,518 residents and 19,515 staff from 331 LTCFs across England, who underwent routine PCR testing 2-3 times per month, looking at SARS-CoV2 vaccine effectiveness over 12 months (Dec 8, 2020-Dec 11, 2021), which is the longest duration of follow-up of any study within this vulnerable cohort. We evaluated the effectiveness of first, second, and booster vaccine doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna against infection, hospitalisation, and death over the 12 months when the Alpha and Delta variants were dominant. Our findings affirm that complete vaccination with two doses of AstraZeneca or mRNA vaccines offers moderate protection against infection, and high protection against severe clinical outcomes, however this protection declines over time, particularly for residents. A third booster dose of an mRNA vaccine restores, and indeed maximises, VE to 71·6% (53·5, 82·7) and 78·3% (70·1, 84·3) against infection, and 89·9% (80·0, 94·6) and 95·8% (50·4, 99·6) against hospitalisation, for residents and staff respectively, and to 97·5% (88·1, 99·5) against death for residents, with similar protection offered after the third dose irrespective of primary course type. This is the first study to examine and describe waning of immunity over a one-year period, as well as vaccine effectiveness of a booster dose, in a large cohort of LTCF staff and residents. Implications of all the available evidence Taken together, our findings indicate high short-term immunity against SARS-CoV2 infection and very high immunity against severe clinical outcomes of COVID-19 for LTCF residents and staff following vaccination. However substantial waning in vaccine-derived immunity is seen beyond 3 months, irrespective of vaccine type, suggesting the need for regular boosting to maintain protection in this vulnerable cohort. Although this analysis took place in the pre-Omicron period, these trends of waning immunity over time are likely to be generalisable across variants, carrying important implications for long-term vaccination policy in LTCFs. Ongoing surveillance in this vulnerable cohort remains crucial, in order to describe further changes in vaccine-induced immunity, particularly in the context of new variants.