Durable immune responses after BNT162b2 vaccination in home-dwelling old adults
Hansen, Lena; Brokstad, Karl Albert; Bansal, Amit; Zhou, Fan; Bredholt, Geir; Onyango, Therese Bredholt; Sandnes, Helene Heitmann; Elyanow, Rebecca; Madsen, Anders; Trieu, Mai Chi; Sævik, Marianne; Søyland, Hanne; Olofsson, Jan Stefan; Vahokoski, Juha; Ertesvåg, Nina Urke; Fjelltveit, Elisabeth Berg; Shafiani, Shahin; Tøndel, Camilla; Chapman, Heidi; Kaplan, Ian; Mohn, Kristin Greve-Isdahl; Langeland, Nina; Cox, Rebecca Jane
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionVaccine: X. 2023, 13, 100262. 10.1016/j.jvacx.2023.100262
Objectives Elderly are an understudied, high-risk group vulnerable to severe COVID-19. We comprehensively analyzed the durability of humoral and cellular immune responses after BNT162b2 vaccination and SARS-CoV-2 infection in elderly and younger adults. Methods Home-dwelling old (n = 100, median 86 years) and younger adults (n = 449, median 38 years) were vaccinated with two doses of BNT162b2 vaccine at 3-week intervals and followed for 9-months. Vaccine-induced responses were compared to home-isolated COVID-19 patients (n = 183, median 47 years). Our analysis included neutralizing antibodies, spike-specific IgG, memory B-cells, IFN-γ and IL-2 secreting T-cells and sequencing of the T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire. Results Spike-specific breadth and depth of the CD4+ and CD8+ TCR repertoires were significantly lower in the elderly after one and two vaccinations. Both vaccinations boosted IFN-γ and IL-2 secreting spike-specific T-cells responses, with 96 % of the elderly and 100 % of the younger adults responding after the second dose, although responses were not maintained at 9-months. In contrast, T-cell responses persisted up to 12-months in infected patients. Spike-specific memory B-cells were induced after the first dose in 87 % of the younger adults compared to 38 % of the elderly, which increased to 83 % after the second dose. Memory B-cells were maintained at 9-months post-vaccination in both vaccination groups. Neutralizing antibody titers were estimated to last for 1-year in younger adults but only 6-months in the older vaccinees. Interestingly, infected older patients (n = 15, median 75 years) had more durable neutralizing titers estimated to last 14-months, 8-months longer than the older vaccinees. Conclusions Vaccine-induced spike-specific IgG and neutralizing antibodies were consistently lower in the older than younger vaccinees. Overall, our data provide valuable insights into the kinetics of the humoral and cellular immune response in the elderly after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination or infection, highlighting the need for two doses, which can guide future vaccine design.