Effectiveness of BNT162b2 and CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccination against asymptomatic and symptomatic infection of SARS-CoV-2 omicron BA.2 in Hong Kong: a prospective cohort study.Lancet Infect Dis. 2023 04; 23(4):421-434.LI
COVID-19 vaccines provide protection against symptomatic infection that might require medical attention and against severe outcomes; however, there is a paucity of evidence regarding the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 and CoronaVac vaccines and their booster regimens against asymptomatic or mild omicron infections in the community. We aimed to measure the effectiveness of BNT162b2 and CoronaVac vaccines against asymptomatic and symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 omicron infections, during a period of omicron BA.2 predominance in Hong Kong.
In this prospective cohort study in a population that was generally infection-naive before the large omicron BA.2 wave between January and late May, 2022, we established a public health surveillance platform to monitor the evolving activity of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the community. We recruited a cohort of individuals aged 5 years and older between March 1 and March 7, 2022, from the general population. Individuals were enrolled from all 18 districts of Hong Kong, according to a predefined age-stratified quota, primarily by random digit dialing (generating suitable eight-digit local telephone numbers by randomly picking sets of the first four digits from a sampling frame, and randomly generating the last four digits), and supplemented by our existing cohorts (which included cohorts for studying influenza vaccination from school-based vaccination programmes and cohorts for SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence from the community), to ensure representativeness of the population in Hong Kong. Participants did weekly rapid antigen testing with a self-collected pooled nasal and throat swab, regardless of symptom and exposure status, from March 1 to April 15, 2022. Individuals reporting a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by laboratory PCR testing before enrolment were excluded from the vaccine effectiveness analysis to avoid potential bias due to infection-induced immunity. The primary outcomes of the study were the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, including asymptomatic and symptomatic infections, and the vaccine effectiveness of BNT162b2 and CoronaVac vaccines. The effectiveness of one, two, and three doses of vaccination was estimated with a Cox proportional hazards regression model with time-dependent covariates, allowing for changes in vaccination status over time, after adjustment for demographic factors and pre-existing medical conditions.
Of the 8636 individuals included in the analysis, 7233 (84%) received at least two doses of vaccine, 3993 (46%) received booster doses, and 903 (10%) reported SARS-CoV-2 infection. Among these infections 589 (65·2%) were symptomatic and 314 (34·8%) were asymptomatic at the time of testing. Statistically significant protection against asymptomatic and symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 omicron infection was found only for those who received a BNT162b2 or CoronaVac booster dose, with a vaccine effectiveness of 41·4% (23·2 to 55·2; p=0·0001) and 32·4% (9·0 to 49·8; p=0·0098), respectively. The vaccine effectiveness of BNT162b2 and CoronaVac boosters was further increased to 50·9% (95% CI 31·0-65·0; p<0·0001) and 41·6% (15·0-59·8; p=0·0049), respectively, for symptomatic omicron infections. A similar pattern of vaccine effectiveness (55·8%, 22·9-74·6; p=0·0040) was also conferred after receipt of a BNT162b2 booster by individuals who received a CoronaVac primary vaccination series.
Two doses of either vaccine did not provide significant protection against COVID-19 infection. However, receipt of a BNT162b2 booster or CoronaVac booster was associated with a significantly lower risk of omicron BA.2 infection and symptomatic infection. Our findings confirm the effectiveness of booster doses to protect against mild and asymptomatic infection.
Henry Fok Foundation and Hong Kong Health Bureau.