BNT162b2 vaccine effectiveness was marginally affected by the SARS-CoV-2 beta variant in fully vaccinated individuals

Orna Mor, Neta S. Zuckerman, Itay Hazan, Ronen Fluss, Nachman Ash, Netanel Ginish, Ella Mendelson, Sharon Alroy-Preis, Laurence Freedman, Amit Huppert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the Pfizer BNT162b2 vaccine against the SARS-Cov-2 Beta variant. Study Design and Setting: Israel's mass vaccination program, using two doses of the Pfizer BNT162b2 vaccine, successfully curtailed the Alpha variant outbreak during winter 2020–2021, However, the virus may mutate and partially evade the immune system. To monitor this, sequencing of selected positive swab samples of interest was initiated. Comparing vaccinated with unvaccinated PCR positive persons, we estimated the odds ratio for a vaccinated case to have the Beta vs. the Alpha variant, using logistic regression, controlling for important confounders. Results: There were 19 cases of Beta variant (3.2%) among those vaccinated more than 14 days before the positive sample and 79 (3.4%) among the unvaccinated. The estimated odds ratio was 1.26 (95% CI: 0.65–2.46). Assuming the effectiveness against the Alpha variant to be 95%, the estimated effectiveness against the Beta variant was 94% (95% CI: 88%–98%). Conclusion: Despite concerns over the Beta variant, the BNT162b2 vaccine seemed to provide substantial immunity against both the Beta and the Alpha variants. From 14 days following the second vaccine dose, the effectiveness of BNT162b2 vaccine was at most marginally affected by the Beta variant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Volume142
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Alpha variant
  • Beta variant
  • COVID-19
  • Israel
  • Logistic regression
  • Odds ratio
  • Variants of concern

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