Heterologous prime/boost vaccination with a vector-based approach (ChAdOx-1nCov-19, ChAd) followed by an mRNA vaccine (e.g. BNT162b2, BNT) has been reported to be superior in inducing protective immunity compared to repeated application of the same vaccine. However, data comparing immunity decline after homologous and heterologous vaccination as well as effects of a third vaccine application after heterologous ChAd/BNT vaccination are lacking. Here we show longitudinal monitoring of ChAd/ChAd (n = 41) and ChAd/BNT (n = 88) vaccinated individuals and the impact of a third vaccination with BNT. The third vaccination greatly augments waning anti-spike IgG but results in only moderate increase in spike-specific CD4 + and CD8 + T cell numbers in both groups, compared to cell frequencies already present after the second vaccination in the ChAd/BNT group. More importantly, the third vaccination efficiently restores neutralizing antibody responses against the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants of the virus, but neutralizing activity against the B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant remains severely impaired. In summary, inferior SARS-CoV-2 specific immune responses following homologous ChAd/ChAd vaccination can be compensated by heterologous BNT vaccination, which might influence the choice of vaccine type for subsequent vaccination boosts.
© 2022. The Author(s).