Vaccine Booster Breakthroughs

Project summary:

The Vaccine Booster Breakthroughs project (VBB) builds upon the successful, innovative work of the earlier Vaccine Breakthroughs Project.

The Vaccine Breakthroughs project investigated serious COVID-19 ‘breakthrough’ events (i.e. hospitalisation and death) that occurred after a person received their primary and third / first booster dose vaccinations. This work provided crucial results which identified which groups of people are more at risk of experiencing these serious outcomes. These results were relayed to the Joint Commitee of Vaccination and Immunisation to help inform the strategy for the Autumn 2022 booster vaccine roll-out.

Now, VBB will help to work out the groups of people who are most at risk of experiencing a serious breakthrough event after their Autumn 2022 / second booster dose vaccination. More specifically, VBB aims to determine:

  • How often these serious post-autumn booster breakthroughs occur across each of the four UK nations and UK overall;
  • What factors put a person at greater risk of experiencing a serious breakthrough event (e.g. health history, demographic characteristics and ethnicity; socioeconomic status);
  • How these risks may differ depending on the number of doses a person receives, the type of vaccine they are given, and what variant dominates at the time of infection;
  • Whether we can predict which groups of people who are likely to experience a post-vaccine breakthrough.

The VBB team will first conduct individual analyses in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, then pool the results together for a UK-wide analysis. They will do this by safely accessing data from Royal College of General Practitioners' ORCHID national surveillance dataset (England); the Honest Broker Service (Northern Ireland); the EAVE II project (Scotland); and the SAIL Databank (Wales).


UK Research and Innovation (as part of the COVID-19 National Core Studies)

Leader researcher:

Professor Sir Aziz Sheikh

Lead institution:

Usher Institute, The University of Edinburgh

Vaccine type: