COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2 BA.1/BA.2 lineages among adults and adolescents in a multicentre primary care study, Europe, December 2021 to June 2022

Euro Surveill. 2024 Mar;29(13):2300403. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2024.29.13.2300403.


BackgroundScarce European data in early 2021 suggested lower vaccine effectiveness (VE) against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron lineages than previous variants.AimWe aimed to estimate primary series (PS) and first booster VE against symptomatic BA.1/BA.2 infection and investigate potential biases.MethodsThis European test-negative multicentre study tested primary care patients with acute respiratory symptoms for SARS-CoV-2 in the BA.1/BA.2-dominant period. We estimated PS and booster VE among adults and adolescents (PS only) for all products combined and for Comirnaty alone, by time since vaccination, age and chronic condition. We investigated potential bias due to correlation between COVID-19 and influenza vaccination and explored effect modification and confounding by prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.ResultsAmong adults, PS VE was 37% (95% CI: 24-47%) overall and 60% (95% CI: 44-72%), 43% (95% CI: 26-55%) and 29% (95% CI: 13-43%) < 90, 90-179 and ≥ 180 days post vaccination, respectively. Booster VE was 42% (95% CI: 32-51%) overall and 56% (95% CI: 47-64%), 22% (95% CI: 2-38%) and 3% (95% CI: -78% to 48%), respectively. Primary series VE was similar among adolescents. Restricting analyses to Comirnaty had little impact. Vaccine effectiveness was higher among older adults. There was no signal of bias due to correlation between COVID-19 and influenza vaccination. Confounding by previous infection was low, but sample size precluded definite assessment of effect modification.ConclusionPrimary series and booster VE against symptomatic infection with BA.1/BA.2 ranged from 37% to 42%, with similar waning post vaccination. Comprehensive data on previous SARS-CoV-2 infection would help disentangle vaccine- and infection-induced immunity.

Keywords: BA.1; BA.2; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; test-negative design; vaccine effectiveness, symptomatic infection.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • BNT162 Vaccine
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human* / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human* / prevention & control
  • Primary Health Care
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccine Efficacy


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • BNT162 Vaccine