Real-world comparative effectiveness of mRNA-1273 and BNT162b2 vaccines among immunocompromised adults identified in administrative claims data in the United States

Vaccine. 2022 Nov 8;40(47):6730-6739. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2022.09.025. Epub 2022 Sep 24.


Introduction: Head-to-head studies comparing COVID-19 mRNA vaccine effectiveness in immunocompromised individuals, who are vulnerable to severe disease are lacking, as large sample sizes are required to make meaningful inferences.

Methods: This observational comparative effectiveness study was conducted in closed administrative claims data from the US HealthVerity database (December 11, 2020-January 10, 2022, before omicron). A 2-dose mRNA-1273 versus BNT162b2 regimen was assessed for preventing medically-attended breakthrough COVID-19 diagnosis and hospitalizations among immunocompromised adults. Inverse probability of treatment weighting was applied to balance baseline characteristics between vaccine groups. Incidence rates from patient-level data and hazard ratios (HRs) using weighted Cox proportional hazards models were calculated.

Results: Overall, 57,898 and 66,981 individuals received a 2-dose regimen of mRNA-1273 or BNT161b2, respectively. Among the weighted population, mean age was 51 years, 53 % were female, and baseline immunodeficiencies included prior blood transplant (8%-9%), prior organ transplant (7%), active cancer (12%-13%), primary immunodeficiency (5-6%), HIV (20%-21%), and immunosuppressive therapy use (60%-61%). Rates per 1,000 person-years (PYs; 95% confidence intervals [CI]s) of breakthrough medically-attended COVID-19 were 25.82 (23.83-27.97) with mRNA-1273 and 30.98 (28.93, 33.18) with BNT162b2 (HR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.75-0.93). When requiring evidence of an antigen or polymerase chain reaction test before COVID-19 diagnosis, the HR for medically-attended COVID-19 was 0.78 (0.67-0.92). Breakthrough COVID-19 hospitalization rates per 1,000 PYs (95% CI) were 3.66 (2.96-4.51) for mRNA-1273 and 4.68 (3.91-5.59) for BNT162b2 (HR, 0.78; 0.59-1.03). Utilizing open and closed claims for outcome capture only, or both cohort entry/outcome capture, produced HRs (95% CIs) for COVID-19 hospitalization of 0.72 (0.57-0.92) and 0.66 (0.58-0.76), respectively.

Conclusions: Among immunocompromised adults, a 2-dose mRNA-1273 regimen was more effective in preventing medically-attended COVID-19 in any setting (inpatient and outpatient) than 2-dose BNT162b2. Results were similar for COVID-19 hospitalization, although statistical power was limited when using closed claims only.

Study registration: NCT05366322.

Keywords: COVID-19; Immunocompromised; SARS-CoV-2; Vaccine effectiveness; mRNA-1273.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273
  • Adult
  • BNT162 Vaccine
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaccines*


  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273
  • BNT162 Vaccine
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • mRNA Vaccine
  • Vaccines

Associated data