Safety and Immunogenicity Following the Second and Third Doses of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine in Adolescents with Juvenile-Onset Autoimmune Inflammatory Rheumatic Diseases: A Prospective Multicentre Study

Merav Heshin-Bekenstein*, Amit Ziv, Natasa Toplak, Siman Lazauskas, Danielle Kadishevich, Efrat Ben-Nun Yaari, Adi Miller-Barmak, Yonatan Butbul Aviel, Esther Saiag, Sara Pel, Ori Elkayam, Yosef Uziel, Victoria Furer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: To explore the long-term safety and dynamics of the immune response induced by the second and third doses of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents with juvenile-onset autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases (AIIRDs) compared with healthy controls. Methods: This international prospective study included adolescents with AIIRDs and controls vaccinated with two (AIIRDs n = 124; controls n = 80) or three (AIIRDs n = 64; controls n = 30) doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine, evaluated for vaccine side-effects, disease activity, COVID-19 breakthrough infection rates and severity, and anti-spike S1/S2 IgG antibody titers in a sample from both groups. Results: The vaccination safety profile was favorable, with most patients reporting mild or no side-effects. The rheumatic disease remained stable at 98% and 100% after the second and third doses, respectively. The two-dose vaccine induced comparable seropositivity rates among patients (91%) and controls (100%), (p = 0.55), which declined within 6 months to 87% and 100%, respectively (p = 0.3) and increased to 100% in both groups after the third vaccine dose. The overall post-vaccination COVID-19 infection rate was comparable between patients and controls, 47.6% (n = 59) and 35% (n = 28), respectively; p = 0.5278, with most infections occurring during the Omicron surge. In relation to the last vaccination, time-to-COVID-19 infection was similar between patients and controls, at a median of 5.5 vs. 5.2 months, respectively (log-rank p = 0.1555). Conclusion: The safety profile of three doses of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine was excellent, with adequate humoral response and similar efficacy among patients and controls. These results support the recommendation for vaccinating adolescents with juvenile-onset AIIRDs against COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number819
JournalVaccines
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • adolescent
  • biologics
  • immunomodulatory medications
  • juvenile-onset rheumatic diseases
  • pediatric rheumatology
  • safety
  • vaccines

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