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Vaccine effectiveness against Omicron infection in an infection-naive population in Hong Kong

Malik Peiris and Sophie Valkenburg’s teams conducted a population-based sero-epidemiological study to estimate thereal-world vaccine effectiveness against Omicron infection on an infection-naive population in Hong Kong from January to July 2022.

Abstract: The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has demonstrated enhanced transmissibility and escape of vaccine-derived immunity. While current vaccines remain effective against severe disease and death, robust evidence on vaccine effectiveness (VE) against all Omicron infections (i.e. irrespective of symptoms) remains sparse. We addressed this knowledge-gap using a community-wide serosurvey with 5,310 subjects by estimating how vaccination histories modulated risk of infection in Hong Kong (which was largely infection naïve) during a large wave of Omicron epidemic during January-July 2022. We estimated that Omicron infected 45% (41-48%) of the Hong Kong population. Three and four doses of BNT162b2 or CoronaVac were effective against Omicron infection (VE of 47% (95% credible interval 34-68%) and 70% (43-99%) for three and four doses of BNT162b2 respectively; VE of 31% (1-73%) and 59% (10-99%) for three and four doses of CoronaVac respectively) seven days after vaccination, but protection waned with half-lives of 15 (3-47) weeks for BNT162b2 and 5 (1-37) weeks for CoronaVac. Our findings suggest that booster vaccination can temporarily enhance population immunity ahead of anticipated waves of infections.

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