Effectiveness of Covid-19 Vaccines in Ambulatory and Inpatient Care Settings

N Engl J Med. 2021 Oct 7;385(15):1355-1371. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2110362. Epub 2021 Sep 8.

Abstract

Background: There are limited data on the effectiveness of the vaccines against symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) currently authorized in the United States with respect to hospitalization, admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), or ambulatory care in an emergency department or urgent care clinic.

Methods: We conducted a study involving adults (≥50 years of age) with Covid-19-like illness who underwent molecular testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We assessed 41,552 admissions to 187 hospitals and 21,522 visits to 221 emergency departments or urgent care clinics during the period from January 1 through June 22, 2021, in multiple states. The patients' vaccination status was documented in electronic health records and immunization registries. We used a test-negative design to estimate vaccine effectiveness by comparing the odds of a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 infection among vaccinated patients with those among unvaccinated patients. Vaccine effectiveness was adjusted with weights based on propensity-for-vaccination scores and according to age, geographic region, calendar time (days from January 1, 2021, to the index date for each medical visit), and local virus circulation.

Results: The effectiveness of full messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccination (≥14 days after the second dose) was 89% (95% confidence interval [CI], 87 to 91) against laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection leading to hospitalization, 90% (95% CI, 86 to 93) against infection leading to an ICU admission, and 91% (95% CI, 89 to 93) against infection leading to an emergency department or urgent care clinic visit. The effectiveness of full vaccination with respect to a Covid-19-associated hospitalization or emergency department or urgent care clinic visit was similar with the BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 vaccines and ranged from 81% to 95% among adults 85 years of age or older, persons with chronic medical conditions, and Black or Hispanic adults. The effectiveness of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine was 68% (95% CI, 50 to 79) against laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection leading to hospitalization and 73% (95% CI, 59 to 82) against infection leading to an emergency department or urgent care clinic visit.

Conclusions: Covid-19 vaccines in the United States were highly effective against SARS-CoV-2 infection requiring hospitalization, ICU admission, or an emergency department or urgent care clinic visit. This vaccine effectiveness extended to populations that are disproportionately affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection. (Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.).

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines* / immunology
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology

Substances

  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • mRNA-1273 vaccine
  • Ad26.COV2.S vaccine
  • BNT162 vaccine