Covid-19 Breakthrough Infections in Vaccinated Health Care Workers
Despite the high efficacy of the BNT162b2 messenger RNA vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), rare breakthrough infections have been reported, including infections among health care workers. Data are needed to characterize these infections and define correlates of breakthrough and infectivity.
At the largest medical center in Israel, we identified breakthrough infections by performing extensive evaluations of health care workers who were symptomatic (including mild symptoms) or had known infection exposure. These evaluations included epidemiologic investigations, repeat reverse-transcriptase–polymerasechain- reaction (RT PCR) assays, antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic testing (Ag-RDT), serologic assays, and genomic sequencing. Correlates of breakthrough infection were assessed in a case–control analysis. We matched patients with breakthrough infection who had antibody titers obtained within a week before SARS-CoV-2 detection (peri infection period) with four to five uninfected controls and used generalized estimating equations to predict the geometric mean titers among cases and controls and the ratio between the titers in the two groups. We also assessed the correlation between neutralizing antibody titers and N gene cycle threshold (Ct) values with respect to infectivity.