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Effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Honam region of the Republic of Korea.

BACKGROUND: In 2021, the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine was analyzed among people living in the Honam region (Gwangju, Jeollanam-do, Jeollabuk-do, and Jeju) of the Republic of Korea. And we investigated changes in the dominant virus strain.

METHODS: This study used the data provided by the Korean Ministry of the Interior and Safety for individuals ≥12 years old in the Honam region, and the Integrated Disease and Health Management System of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for COVID-19-vaccinated individuals as of December 31, 2021. Statistical analyzes were performed using IBM SPSS ver. 23.0. The occurrence of confirmed cases by vaccination status, the relative risk, and vaccine effectiveness by vaccine type were calculated.

RESULTS: In 2021, the COVID-19 vaccination rate in Honam was 88.6%. The overall vaccine effectiveness (after 2 and 3 doses) was 98.7% (p<0.001). and the breakthrough infection rate was 0.16%. From week 21 to week 27 of 2021 (June 27 to July 3), the genome sequencing results were mostly alpha variants. The Delta variant emerged as the dominant variant after 27 weeks and the Omicron variant was found at 50 weeks (December 5-11).

CONCLUSION: Vaccine effectiveness changed with the outbreak of new variants of the virus as well as over time as antibody levels decreased. that the prevention effectiveness of vaccination in Honam was >98%, and the effect among persons who received 2 doses was >90% regardless of the vaccine type. Although vaccine effectiveness decreased because of reduced antibody levels over time (as observed in breakthrough infections), receiving a booster dose restored the neutralizing antibody levels.

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