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In The Lancet regional health. Europe

Background : We aimed to explore the effectiveness of one-dose BNT162b2 vaccination upon SARS-CoV-2 infection, its effect on COVID-19 presentation, and post-vaccination symptoms in children and adolescents (CA) in the UK during periods of Delta and Omicron variant predominance.

Methods : In this prospective longitudinal cohort study, we analysed data from 115,775 CA aged 12-17 years, proxy-reported through the Covid Symptom Study (CSS) smartphone application. We calculated post-vaccination infection risk after one dose of BNT162b2, and described the illness profile of CA with post-vaccination SARS-CoV-2 infection, compared to unvaccinated CA, and post-vaccination side-effects.

Findings : Between August 5, 2021 and February 14, 2022, 25,971 UK CA aged 12-17 years received one dose of BNT162b2 vaccine. The probability of testing positive for infection diverged soon after vaccination, and was lower in CA with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Vaccination reduced proxy-reported infection risk (-80·4% (95% CI -0·82 -0·78) and -53·7% (95% CI -0·62 -0·43) at 14-30 days with Delta and Omicron variants respectively, and -61·5% (95% CI -0·74 -0·44) and -63·7% (95% CI -0·68 -0.59) after 61-90 days). Vaccinated CA who contracted SARS-CoV-2 during the Delta period had milder disease than unvaccinated CA; during the Omicron period this was only evident in children aged 12-15 years. Overall disease profile was similar in both vaccinated and unvaccinated CA. Post-vaccination local side-effects were common, systemic side-effects were uncommon, and both resolved within few days (3 days in most cases).

Interpretation : One dose of BNT162b2 vaccine reduced risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection for at least 90 days in CA aged 12-17 years. Vaccine protection varied for SARS-CoV-2 variant type (lower for Omicron than Delta variant), and was enhanced by pre-vaccination SARS-CoV-2 infection. Severity of COVID-19 presentation after vaccination was generally milder, although unvaccinated CA also had generally mild disease. Overall, vaccination was well-tolerated.

Funding : UK Government Department of Health and Social Care, Chronic Disease Research Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK Research and Innovation London Medical Imaging & Artificial Intelligence Centre for Value Based Healthcare, UK National Institute for Health Research, UK Medical Research Council, British Heart Foundation and Alzheimer's Society, and ZOE Limited.

Molteni Erika, Canas Liane S, Kläser Kerstin, Deng Jie, Bhopal Sunil S, Hughes Robert C, Chen Liyuan, Murray Benjamin, Kerfoot Eric, Antonelli Michela, Sudre Carole H, Pujol Joan Capdevila, Polidori Lorenzo, May Anna, Hammers Prof Alexander, Wolf Jonathan, Spector Prof Tim D, Steves Claire J, Ourselin Prof Sebastien, Absoud Michael, Modat Marc, Duncan Prof Emma L


BNT162b2 vaccine effectiveness, BNT162b2, Comirnaty SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (BioNTech, Pfizer), CA, Children and adolescents, COVID-19 vaccination, “KCL, Kings College London”, LFAT, Lateral flow antigen test, OR, Odds Ratio, PCR, Polymerase chain reaction, Paediatrics, SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in children, SARS-CoV-2, Severe acute respiratory syndrome‐related coronavirus 2, UK, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland