Hospitalised patients with breakthrough COVID-19 following vaccination during two distinct waves in Israel, January to August 2021: a multicentre comparative cohort study

Tal Brosh-Nissimov, Yasmin Maor, Meital Elbaz, Shelly Lipman-Arens, Yonit Wiener-Well, Khetam Hussein, Efrat Orenbuch-Harroch, Regev Cohen, Oren Zimhony, Bibiana Chazan, Lior Nesher, Galia Rahav, Hiba Zayyad, Mirit Hershman-Sarafov, Miriam Weinberger, Ronza Najjar-Debbiny, Michal Chowers

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6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Changing patterns of vaccine breakthrough can clarify vaccine effectiveness. Aim: To compare breakthrough infections during a SARS-CoV-2 Delta wave vs unvaccinated inpatients, and an earlier Alpha wave. Methods: In an observational multicentre cohort study in Israel, hospitalised COVID-19 patients were divided into three cohorts: breakthrough infections in Comirnaty-vaccinated patients (VD; Jun–Aug 2021) and unvaccinated cases during the Delta wave (ND) and breakthrough infections during an earlier Alpha wave (VA; Jan–Apr 2021). Primary outcome was death or ventilation. Results: We included 343 VD, 162 ND and 172 VA patients. VD were more likely older (OR: 1.06; 95% CI: 1.05–1.08), men (OR: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.0–2.5) and immunosuppressed (OR:2.5; 95% CI: 1.1–5.5) vs ND. Median time between second vaccine dose and admission was 179 days (IQR: 166–187) in VD vs 41 days (IQR: 28–57.5) in VA. VD patients were less likely to be men (OR: 0.6; 95% CI: 0.4–0.9), immunosuppressed (OR:0.3; 95% CI: 0.2–0.5) or have congestive heart failure (OR:0.6; 95% CI: 0.3–0.9) vs VA. The outcome was similar between all cohorts and affected by age and immunosuppression and not by vaccination, variant or time from vaccination. Conclusions: Vaccination was protective during the Delta variant wave, as suggested by older age and greater immunosuppression in vaccinated breakthrough vs unvaccinated inpatients. Nevertheless, compared with an earlier post-vaccination period, breakthrough infections 6 months post-vaccination occurred in healthier patients. Thus, waning immunity increased vulnerability during the Delta wave, which suggests boosters as a countermeasure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEurosurveillance
Volume27
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - 19 May 2022

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