Koen B. Pouwels, Emma Pritchard, Philippa C. Matthews, Nicole Stoesser, David W. Eyre, Karina-Doris Vihta, Thomas House, Jodie Hay, John I. Bell, John N. Newton, Jeremy Farrar, Derrick Crook, Duncan Cook, Emma Rourke, Ruth Studley, Tim Peto, Ian Diamond, A. Sarah Walker and the COVID-19 Infection Survey Team: Impact of Delta on viral burden and vaccine effectiveness against new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the UK , in: medRxiv (August 24, 2021), https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.18.21262237.
The effectiveness of BNT162b2, ChAdOx1, and mRNA-1273 vaccines against new SARS-CoV-2 infections requires continuous re-evaluation, given the increasingly dominant Delta variant. The authors investigated the effectiveness of the vaccines in a large community-based survey of randomly selected households across the UK. They found that the effectiveness of BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 against any infections (new PCR positives) and infections with symptoms or high viral burden is reduced with the Delta variant. A single dose of the mRNA-1273 vaccine had similar or greater effectiveness compared to a single dose of BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1. Effectiveness of two doses remains at least as great as protection afforded by prior natural infection. The dynamics of immunity following second doses differed significantly between BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1, with greater initial effectiveness against new PCR-positives but faster declines in protection against high viral burden and symptomatic infection with BNT162b2. There was no evidence that effectiveness varied by dosing interval, but protection was higher among those vaccinated following a prior infection and younger adults. With Delta, infections occurring following two vaccinations had similar peak viral burden to those in unvaccinated individuals. SARS-CoV-2 vaccination still reduces new infections, but effectiveness and attenuation of peak viral burden are reduced with Delta.