Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) covid-19 vaccines during the booster programme in England. DESIGN: Matched cohort study, emulating a comparative effectiveness trial. SETTING: Linked primary care, hospital, and covid-19 surveillance records available within the OpenSAFELY-TPP research platform, covering a period when the SARS-CoV-2 delta and omicron variants were dominant. PARTICIPANTS: 3 237 918 adults who received a booster dose of either vaccine between 29 October 2021 and 25 February 2022 as part of the national booster programme in England and who received a primary course of BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1. INTERVENTION: Vaccination with either BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 as a booster vaccine dose. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Recorded SARS-CoV-2 positive test, covid-19 related hospital admission, covid-19 related death, and non-covid-19 related death at 20 weeks after receipt of the booster dose. RESULTS: 1 618 959 people were matched in each vaccine group, contributing a total 64 546 391 person weeks of follow-up. The 20 week risks per 1000 for a positive SARS-CoV-2 test were 164.2 (95% confidence interval 163.3 to 165.1) for BNT162b2 and 159.9 (159.0 to 160.8) for mRNA-1273; the hazard ratio comparing mRNA-1273 with BNT162b2 was 0.95 (95% confidence interval 0.95 to 0.96). The 20 week risks per 1000 for hospital admission with covid-19 were 0.75 (0.71 to 0.79) for BNT162b2 and 0.65 (0.61 to 0.69) for mRNA-1273; the hazard ratio was 0.89 (0.82 to 0.95). Covid-19 related deaths were rare: the 20 week risks per 1000 were 0.028 (0.021 to 0.037) for BNT162b2 and 0.024 (0.018 to 0.033) for mRNA-1273; hazard ratio 0.83 (0.58 to 1.19). Comparative effectiveness was generally similar within subgroups defined by the primary course vaccine brand, age, previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, and clinical vulnerability. Relative benefit was similar when vaccines were compared separately in the delta and omicron variant eras. CONCLUSIONS: This matched observational study of adults estimated a modest benefit of booster vaccination with mRNA-1273 compared with BNT162b2 in preventing positive SARS-CoV-2 tests and hospital admission with covid-19 20 weeks after vaccination, during a period of delta followed by omicron variant dominance.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ (Clinical research ed.)

Publication Date