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Effectiveness of a fourth COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose against the Omicron variant in solid organ transplant recipients


Background — The effectiveness of booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines in solid organ transplant recipients is unclear. We conducted a population-based matched cohort study using linked administrative healthcare databases from Ontario, Canada to estimate the marginal vaccine effectiveness of a fourth versus third dose of the BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 vaccines against clinically important outcomes (ie, hospitalization or death) and infection during the era of the Omicron variant.

Methods — We matched 3120 solid organ transplant recipients with a third COVID-19 vaccine dose (reference) to 3120 recipients with a fourth dose. Recipients were matched on the third dose date (±7 d). We used a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model to estimate the marginal vaccine effectiveness with outcomes occurring between December 21, 2021 and April 30, 2022.

Results — The cumulative incidence of COVID-19–related hospitalization or death was 2.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0–3.7) in the third dose group compared with 1.1% (95% CI, 0.59–1.8) in the fourth dose group after 84 d of follow-up (P < 0.001). The adjusted marginal vaccine effectiveness was 70% (95% CI, 47–83) against clinically important outcomes and 39% (95% CI, 21–52) against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Conclusions — Compared with a third dose, a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was associated with improved protection against hospitalization, death, and SARS-CoV-2 infection during the Omicron era. Results highlight the importance of a booster COVID-19 vaccine dose in solid organ transplant recipients.



Naylor  KL, Knoll GA, Smith G, McArthur E, Kwong JC, Dixon SN, Treleaven D, Kim SJ. Transplantation. 2023; Aug 22 [Epub ahead of print].

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