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- Eli S. Rosenberg
- Vajeera Dorabawila
- Delia Easton
- Ursula E. Bauer
- Jessica Kumar
- Rebecca Hoen
- Dina Hoefer
- Meng Wu
- Emily Lutterloh
- Mary Beth Conroy
- Danielle Greene
- Howard A. Zucker
US population-based data on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness (VE) for the 3 currently FDA-authorized products is limited. Whether declines in VE are due to waning immunity, the Delta variant, or other causes, is debated.
We conducted a prospective study of 8,834,604 New York adults, comparing vaccine cohorts defined by product, age, and month of full-vaccination to age-specific unvaccinated cohorts, by linking statewide testing, hospital, and vaccine registry databases. VE was estimated from May 1, 2021 for incident laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases (weekly life-table hazard rates through September 3) and hospitalizations (monthly incidence rates through August 31).
155,092 COVID-19 cases and 14,862 hospitalizations occurred. Estimated VE for cases declined contemporaneously across age, products, and time-cohorts, from high levels beginning May 1 (1.8% Delta variant prevalence), to a nadir around July 10 (85.3% Delta), with limited changes thereafter (>95% Delta). Decreases were greatest for Pfizer-BioNTech (−24.6%, −19.1%, −14.1% for 18-49, 50-64 years, and ≥65 years, respectively), and similar for Moderna (−18.0%, −11.6%, −9.0%, respectively) and Janssen (−19.2%, −10.8, −10.9%, respectively). VE for hospitalization for adults 18-64 years was >86% across cohorts, without time trend. Among persons ≥65 years, VE declined from May to August for Pfizer-BioNTech (95.0% to 89.2%) and Moderna (97.2% to 94.1%). VE was lower for Janssen, without trend, ranging 85.5%-82.8%.
Declines in VE for cases may have been primarily driven by factors other than waning. VE for hospitalizations remained high, with modest declines limited to Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna recipients ≥65 years, supporting targeted booster dosing recommendations.