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Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296399


Importance The effectiveness of mRNA vaccination in a large and diverse American population, with older age and higher co-morbidity has not been assessed. Objective To describe the scope of the mRNA vaccination rollout among the diverse U.S. Veterans population, and to study the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness (VE) against infection, symptomatic disease, hospitalization, and death. Methods Vaccination histories were obtained from medical records to determine if patients tested for SARS-CoV-2 were unvaccinated, partially vaccinated (first dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine), or fully vaccinated (two doses) at time of testing. First, coverage with any COVID-19 vaccination was described for all Veterans enrolled in Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Second, to evaluate VE, a matched test-negative case-control evaluation was conducted utilizing SARS-CoV-2 positive (cases [n=16,690]) and SARS-CoV-2 negative (controls [n=61,610]) tests from Veterans aged ≥18 years old who routinely sought care at a VHA facility and were tested from December 14, 2020, through March 14, 2021. VE was calculated from odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results By March 7, 2021, among 6,170,750 Veterans, 1,547,045 (23%) received at least one COVID-19 vaccination. mRNA COVID-19 VE against infection, regardless of symptoms, was 94% (95% CI 92-95) and 58% (95%CI 54-62) for full and partial vaccination (vs. no vaccination), respectively. VE against infection was similar across subpopulations, and it was not significantly different from VE against symptomatic disease. VE against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death for full vs. no vaccination was 89% (95%CI 81-93) and 99% (95%CI 87-100), respectively. Conclusions and Relevance The VHA’s efficient and equitable distribution of effective vaccines decreased COVID-19 infections, hospitalization, and mortality similarly for all Veterans, including Veterans with low income, homeless Veterans, immunocompromised, the elderly, minorities, and rural Veterans thus reducing health inequalities.