JOURNAL ARTICLE

BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Mass Vaccination Setting

Noa Dagan, Noam Barda, Eldad Kepten, Oren Miron, Shay Perchik, Mark A Katz, Miguel A Hernán, Marc Lipsitch, Ben Reis, Ran D Balicer
New England Journal of Medicine 2021 February 24
33626250

BACKGROUND: As mass vaccination campaigns against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) commence worldwide, vaccine effectiveness needs to be assessed for a range of outcomes across diverse populations in a noncontrolled setting. In this study, data from Israel's largest health care organization were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine.

METHODS: All persons who were newly vaccinated during the period from December 20, 2020, to February 1, 2021, were matched to unvaccinated controls in a 1:1 ratio according to demographic and clinical characteristics. Study outcomes included documented infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), symptomatic Covid-19, Covid-19-related hospitalization, severe illness, and death. We estimated vaccine effectiveness for each outcome as one minus the risk ratio, using the Kaplan-Meier estimator.

RESULTS: Each study group included 596,618 persons. Estimated vaccine effectiveness for the study outcomes at days 14 through 20 after the first dose and at 7 or more days after the second dose was as follows: for documented infection, 46% (95% confidence interval [CI], 40 to 51) and 92% (95% CI, 88 to 95); for symptomatic Covid-19, 57% (95% CI, 50 to 63) and 94% (95% CI, 87 to 98); for hospitalization, 74% (95% CI, 56 to 86) and 87% (95% CI, 55 to 100); and for severe disease, 62% (95% CI, 39 to 80) and 92% (95% CI, 75 to 100), respectively. Estimated effectiveness in preventing death from Covid-19 was 72% (95% CI, 19 to 100) for days 14 through 20 after the first dose. Estimated effectiveness in specific subpopulations assessed for documented infection and symptomatic Covid-19 was consistent across age groups, with potentially slightly lower effectiveness in persons with multiple coexisting conditions.

CONCLUSIONS: This study in a nationwide mass vaccination setting suggests that the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine is effective for a wide range of Covid-19-related outcomes, a finding consistent with that of the randomized trial.

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