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Breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections in double and triple vaccinated adults and single dose vaccine effectiveness among children in Autumn 2021 in England: REACT-1 study

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  • M. Chadeau-Hyam
  • O. Eales
  • B. Bodinier
  • H. Wang
  • D. Haw
  • M. Whitaker
  • J. Elliott
  • C.E. Walters
  • J. Jonnerby
  • C. Atchison
  • P.J. Diggle
  • A.J. Page
  • D. Ashby
  • W. Barclay
  • G. Taylor
  • G. Cooke
  • H. Ward
  • A. Darzi
  • C.A. Donnelly
  • P. Elliott
Article number101419
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/06/2022
Number of pages14
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date6/05/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background: Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection with Delta variant was increasing in England in late summer 2021 among children aged 5 to 17 years, and adults who had received two vaccine doses. In September 2021, a third (booster) dose was offered to vaccinated adults aged 50 years and over, vulnerable adults and healthcare/care-home workers, and a single vaccine dose already offered to 16 and 17 year-olds was extended to children aged 12 to 15 years. Methods: SARS-CoV-2 community prevalence in England was available from self-administered throat and nose swabs using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in round 13 (24 June to 12 July 2021, N = 98,233), round 14 (9 to 27 September 2021, N = 100,527) and round 15 (19 October to 5 November 2021, N = 100,112) from the REACT-1 study randomised community surveys. Linking to National Health Service (NHS) vaccination data for consenting participants, we estimated vaccine effectiveness in children aged 12 to 17 years and compared swab-positivity rates in adults who received a third dose with those who received two doses. Findings: Weighted SARS-CoV-2 prevalence was 1.57% (1.48%, 1.66%) in round 15 compared with 0.83% (0.76%, 0.89%) in round 14, and the previously observed link between infections and hospitalisations and deaths had weakened. Vaccine effectiveness against infection in children aged 12 to 17 years was estimated (round 15) at 64.0% (50.9%, 70.6%) and 67.7% (53.8%, 77.5%) for symptomatic infections. Adults who received a third vaccine dose were less likely to test positive compared to those who received two doses, with adjusted OR of 0.36 (0.25, 0.53). Interpretation: Vaccination of children aged 12 to 17 years and third (booster) doses in adults were effective at reducing infection risk. High rates of vaccination, including booster doses, are a key part of the strategy to reduce infection rates in the community.