Effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines on covid-19 related symptoms, hospital admissions, and mortality in older adults in England: Test negative case-control study

James Lopez Bernal*, Nicholas Andrews, Charlotte Gower, Chris Robertson, Julia Stowe, Elise Tessier, Ruth Simmons, Simon Cottrell, Richard Roberts, Mark O'Doherty, Kevin Brown, Claire Cameron, Diane Stockton, Jim McMenamin, Mary Ramsay

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Objective To estimate the real world effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 and Oxford-AstraZeneca ChAdOx1-S vaccines against confirmed covid-19 symptoms (including the UK variant of concern B.1.1.7), admissions to hospital, and deaths. 

Design Test negative case-control study. 

Setting Community testing for covid-19 in England. 

Participants 156 930 adults aged 70 years and older who reported symptoms of covid-19 between 8 December 2020 and 19 February 2021 and were successfully linked to vaccination data in the National Immunisation Management System. 

Interventions Vaccination with BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1-S. 

Main outcome measures Primary outcomes were polymerase chain reaction confirmed symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections, admissions to hospital for covid-19, and deaths with covid-19. 

Results Participants aged 80 years and older vaccinated with BNT162b2 before 4 January 2021 had a higher odds of testing positive for covid-19 in the first nine days after vaccination (odds ratio up to 1.48, 95% confidence interval 1.23 to 1.77), indicating that those initially targeted had a higher underlying risk of infection. Vaccine effectiveness was therefore compared with the baseline post-vaccination period. Vaccine effects were noted 10 to 13 days after vaccination, reaching a vaccine effectiveness of 70% (95% confidence interval 59% to 78%), then plateauing. From 14 days after the second dose a vaccination effectiveness of 89% (85% to 93%) was found compared with the increased baseline risk. Participants aged 70 years and older vaccinated from 4 January (when ChAdOx1-S delivery commenced) had a similar underlying risk of covid-19 to unvaccinated individuals. With BNT162b2, vaccine effectiveness reached 61% (51% to 69%) from 28 to 34 days after vaccination, then plateaued. With ChAdOx1-S, effects were seen from 14 to 20 days after vaccination, reaching an effectiveness of 60% (41% to 73%) from 28 to 34 days, increasing to 73% (27% to 90%) from day 35 onwards. On top of the protection against symptomatic disease, a further 43% (33% to 52%) reduced risk of emergency hospital admission and 51% (37% to 62%) reduced risk of death was observed in those who had received one dose of BNT162b2. Participants who had received one dose of ChAdOx1-S had a further 37% (3% to 59%) reduced risk of emergency hospital admission. Follow-up was insufficient to assess the effect of ChAdOx1-S on mortality. Combined with the effect against symptomatic disease, a single dose of either vaccine was about 80% effective at preventing admission to hospital with covid-19 and a single dose of BNT162b2 was 85% effective at preventing death with covid-19. 

Conclusion Vaccination with either one dose of BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1-S was associated with a significant reduction in symptomatic covid-19 in older adults, and with further protection against severe disease. Both vaccines showed similar effects. Protection was maintained for the duration of follow-up (>6 weeks). A second dose of BNT162b2 was associated with further protection against symptomatic disease. A clear effect of the vaccines against the B.1.1.7 variant was found.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1088
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Medical Journal
Volume373
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: None

Open Access: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

Publisher Copyright: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Published by BMJ.

Citation: Bernal, Jamie Lopez, et al. "Effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines on covid-19 related symptoms, hospital admissions, and mortality in older adults in England: test negative case-control study." bmj 373 (2021).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1088

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