Comparative effectiveness of third doses of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines in US veterans.Nat Microbiol. 2023 01; 8(1):55-63.NM
Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 has been effective in reducing the burden of severe disease and death from COVID-19. Third doses of mRNA-based vaccines have provided a way to address waning immunity and broaden protection against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, their comparative effectiveness for a range of COVID-19 outcomes across diverse populations is unknown. We emulated a target trial using electronic health records of US veterans who received a third dose of either BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 vaccines between 20 October 2021 and 8 February 2022, during a period that included Delta- and Omicron-variant waves. Eligible veterans had previously completed an mRNA vaccine primary series. We matched recipients of each vaccine in a 1:1 ratio according to recorded risk factors. Each vaccine group included 65,196 persons. The excess number of events over 16 weeks per 10,000 persons for BNT162b2 compared with mRNA-1273 was 45.4 (95% CI: 19.4, 84.7) for documented infection, 3.7 (2.2, 14.1) for symptomatic COVID-19, 10.6 (5.1, 19.7) for COVID-19 hospitalization, 2.0 (-3.1, 6.3) for COVID-19 intensive care unit admission and 0.2 (-2.2, 4.0) for COVID-19 death. After emulating a second target trial of veterans who received a third dose between 1 January and 1 March 2022, during a period restricted to Omicron-variant predominance, the excess number of events over 9 weeks per 10,000 persons for BNT162b2 compared with mRNA-1273 was 63.2 (95% CI: 15.2, 100.7) for documented infection. The 16-week risks of COVID-19 outcomes were low after a third dose of mRNA-1273 or BNT162b2, although risks were lower with mRNA-1273 than with BNT162b2, particularly for documented infection.