Vaccine effectiveness of one, two, and three doses of BNT162b2 and CoronaVac against COVID-19 in Hong Kong: a population-based observational study

Lancet Infect Dis. 2022 Oct;22(10):1435-1443. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(22)00345-0. Epub 2022 Jul 15.


Background: Hong Kong maintained low circulation of SARS-CoV-2 until a major community epidemic of the omicron (B.1.1.529) sublineage BA.2 began in January, 2022. Both mRNA (BNT162b2 [Fosun Pharma-BioNTech]) and inactivated CoronaVac (Sinovac, Beijing, China) vaccines are widely available; however, vaccination coverage has been low, particularly in older adults aged 70 years or older. We aimed to assess vaccine effectiveness in this predominantly infection-naive population.

Methods: In this observational study, we used individual-level case data on mild or moderate, severe or fatal, and fatal disease in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 along with census information and coverage data of BNT162b2 and CoronaVac. We used a negative binomial model, adjusting for age, sex, and calendar day to estimate vaccine effectiveness of one, two, and three doses of both BNT162b2 and CoronaVac vaccines, and relative effectiveness by number of doses and vaccine type.

Findings: Between Dec 31, 2020, and March 16, 2022, 13·2 million vaccine doses were administered in Hong Kong's 7·4-million population. We analysed data from confirmed cases with mild or moderate (n=5566), severe or fatal (n=8875), and fatal (n=6866) COVID-19. Two doses of either vaccine protected against severe disease and death within 28 days of a positive test, with higher effectiveness among adults aged 60 years or older with BNT162b2 (vaccine effectiveness 89·3% [95% CI 86·6-91·6]) compared with CoronaVac (69·9% [64·4-74·6]). Three doses of either vaccine offered very high levels of protection against severe or fatal outcomes (97·9% [97·3-98·4]).

Interpretation: Third doses of either BNT162b2 or CoronaVac provide substantial additional protection against severe COVID-19 and should be prioritised, particularly in older adults older than 60 years and others in high-risk populations who received CoronaVac primary schedules. Longer follow-up is needed to assess duration of protection across different vaccine platforms and schedules.

Funding: COVID-19 Vaccines Evaluation Program, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • BNT162 Vaccine
  • COVID-19 Vaccines*
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccine Efficacy


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • BNT162 Vaccine