Pfizer and BioNTech announced Thursday that a large-scale trial of their COVID-19 vaccine booster showed it restored full protection against the disease.
In a Phase 3 randomized, controlled trial, a Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose was administered to more than 10,000 individuals 16 years of age and older, who previously received the Pfizer-BioNTech primary two-dose series.
In the trial, a booster dose administered to individuals who previously received the Pfizer-BioNTech primary two-dose series restored vaccine protection against COVID-19 to the high levels achieved after the second dose, showing a relative vaccine efficacy of 95.6% when compared to those who did not receive a booster.
These are the first efficacy results from any randomized, controlled COVID-19 vaccine booster trial.
“These results provide further evidence of the benefits of boosters as we aim to keep people well-protected against this disease,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “In addition to our efforts to increase global access and uptake among the unvaccinated, we believe boosters have a critical role to play in addressing the ongoing public health threat of this pandemic. We look forward to sharing these data with health authorities and working together to determine how they can be used to support the rollout of booster doses around the world.”
“These important data add to the body of evidence suggesting that a booster dose of our vaccine can help protect a broad population of people from this virus and its variants,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-Founder of BioNTech. “Based on these findings we believe that, in addition to broad global access to vaccines for everyone, booster vaccinations could play an important role in sustaining pandemic containment and a return to normalcy.”
All trial participants previously completed the primary two-dose series of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and then were randomized 1:1 to receive either a 30-µg booster dose (the same dosage strength as those in the primary series) or placebo. The median time between second dose and administration of the booster dose or placebo was approximately 11 months. Symptomatic COVID-19 occurrence was measured from at least 7 days after booster or placebo, with a median follow-up of 2.5 months. During the study period, there were 5 cases of COVID-19 in the booster group, and 109 cases in the non-boosted group. The observed relative vaccine efficacy of 95.6% (95% CI: 89.3, 98.6) reflects the reduction in disease occurrence in the boosted group versus the non-boosted group in those without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Median age of participants was 53 years, with 55.5% of participants between 16 and 55 years, and 23.3% of participants 65 years and older. Multiple subgroup analyses showed efficacy was consistent irrespective of age, sex, race, ethnicity, or comorbid conditions.
The adverse event profile was generally consistent with other clinical safety data for the vaccine, with no safety concerns identified.
On September 22, 2021, a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine was authorized for emergency use by the U.S. FDA for individuals 65 years of age and older, individuals 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19, and individuals 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
On October 20, 2021, a booster dose of the vaccine also was authorized for emergency use by the U.S. FDA in eligible individuals who have completed a primary vaccination with a different authorized COVID-19 vaccine.