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In view of the advent of the B.1.617.2 (delta) variant and resurgence of COVID-19 cases, a third dose (booster) of the BNT162b2 vaccine has been recommended. In this study, the authors evaluated the mortality rate due to COVID among participants who received the booster and compared it to the rate among participants who did not receive the booster.
The results show that participants who received a booster dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine at least 5 months after a second dose had a 90% lower risk of mortality due to COVID-19 than participants who did not receive a booster dose. Further long-term studies are required to determine the efficacy and safety of the booster dose.
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
The emergence of the B.1.617.2 (delta) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and the reduced effectiveness over time of the BNT162b2 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) led to a resurgence of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in populations that had been vaccinated early. On July 30, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Health approved the use of a third dose of BNT162b2 (booster) to cope with this resurgence. Evidence regarding the effectiveness of the booster in lowering mortality due to Covid-19 is still needed.
We obtained data for all members of Clalit Health Services who were 50 years of age or older at the start of the study and had received two doses of BNT162b2 at least 5 months earlier. The mortality due to Covid-19 among participants who received the booster during the study period (booster group) was compared with that among participants who did not receive the booster (nonbooster group). A Cox proportional-hazards regression model with time-dependent covariates was used to estimate the association of booster status with death due to Covid-19, with adjustment for sociodemographic factors and coexisting conditions.
A total of 843,208 participants met the eligibility criteria, of whom 758,118 (90%) received the booster during the 54-day study period. Death due to Covid-19 occurred in 65 participants in the booster group (0.16 per 100,000 persons per day) and in 137 participants in the nonbooster group (2.98 per 100,000 persons per day). The adjusted hazard ratio for death due to Covid-19 in the booster group, as compared with the nonbooster group, was 0.10 (95% confidence interval, 0.07 to 0.14; P<0.001).
Participants who received a booster at least 5 months after a second dose of BNT162b2 had 90% lower mortality due to Covid-19 than participants who did not receive a booster.