Updated: Feb 1, 2022
Risk factors and disease profile of post-vaccination SARS-CoV-2 infectionUK users of the COVID Symptom Study app: a prospective, community-based, nested, case-control study
Open AccessPublished:September 01, 2021 DOI:
Background COVID-19 vaccines show excellent efficacy in clinical trials and effectiveness in real-world data, but some people still become infected with SARS-CoV-2 after vaccination. This study aimed to identify risk factors for post-vaccination SARS-CoV-2 infection and describe the characteristics of post-vaccination illness.
Between Dec 8, 2020, and July 4, 2021, 1 240 009 COVID Symptom Study app users reported a first vaccine dose, of whom 6030 (0·5%) subsequently tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (cases 1), and 971 504 reported a second dose, of whom 2370 (0·2%) subsequently tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (cases 2). In the risk factor analysis, frailty was associated with post-vaccination infection in older adults (≥60 years) after their first vaccine dose (odds ratio [OR] 1·93, 95% CI 1·50–2·48; p<0·0001), and individuals living in highly deprived areas had increased odds of post-vaccination infection following their first vaccine dose (OR 1·11, 95% CI 1·01–1·23; p=0·039). Individuals without obesity (BMI <30 kg/m2) had lower odds of infection following their first vaccine dose (OR 0·84, 95% CI 0·75–0·94; p=0·0030). For the disease profile analysis, 3825 users from cases 1 were included in cases 3 and 906 users from cases 2 were included in cases 4. Vaccination (compared with no vaccination) was associated with reduced odds of hospitalisation or having more than five symptoms in the first week of illness following the first or second dose, and long-duration (≥28 days) symptoms following the second dose. Almost all symptoms were reported less frequently in infected vaccinated individuals than in infected unvaccinated individuals, and vaccinated participants were more likely to be completely asymptomatic, especially if they were 60 years or older.
To minimise SARS-CoV-2 infection, at-risk populations must be targeted in efforts to boost vaccine effectiveness and infection control measures. Our findings might support caution around relaxing physical distancing and other personal protective measures in the post-vaccination era, particularly around frail older adults and individuals living in more deprived areas, even if these individuals are vaccinated, and might have implications for strategies such as booster vaccinations.
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