Ramandip Grewal, Sophie A. Kitchen, Lena Nguyen, Sarah A. Buchan, Sarah E. Wilson, Andrew P. Costa,Jeffrey C. Kwong: Effectiveness of a Fourth Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine among Long-Term Care Residents in Ontario, Canada: Test-Negative Design Study, in: medRxiv (June 1, 2022) 32 pages, online in: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.04.15.22273846.
Background: As of December 30, 2021, Ontario long-term care (LTC) residents who received a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine ≥84 days previously were offered a fourth dose to prevent a surge in COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality due to the Omicron variant.
Methods: The authors used a test-negative design and linked databases to estimate the marginal effectiveness (4 versus 3 doses) and vaccine effectiveness (VE; 2, 3, or 4 doses versus no doses) of mRNA vaccines among Ontario LTC residents aged ≥60 years who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 between December 30, 2021 and April 27, 2022. Outcome measures included any Omicron infection, symptomatic infection, and severe outcomes (hospitalization or death).
Results: The authors included 13,654 Omicron cases and 205,862 test-negative controls. The marginal effectiveness of a fourth dose (with 95% of fourth dose vaccine recipients receiving mRNA-1273) ≥7 days after vaccination versus a third dose received ≥84 days prior was 19% (95% Confidence Interval [CI], 12-26%) against infection, 31% (95%CI, 20-41%) against symptomatic infection, and 40% (95%CI, 24-52%) against severe outcomes. VE (compared to an unvaccinated group) increased with each additional dose, and for a fourth dose was 49% (95%CI, 43-54%), 69% (95%CI, 61-76%), and 86% (95%CI, 81-90%), against infection, symptomatic infection, and severe outcomes, respectively.
Conclusions: The authors’ findings suggest that compared to a third dose received ≥84 days ago, a fourth dose improved protection against infection, symptomatic infection, and severe outcomes caused by Omicron among long-term care residents. Compared to unvaccinated individuals, fourth doses provide strong protection against severe outcomes, but the duration of protection remains unknown.