SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in the first year after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant: a prospective, multicentre, observational study.

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BACKGROUND: The optimal timing for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines within the first year after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) is poorly understood.

METHODS: We conducted a prospective, multicentre, observational study of allogeneic HCT recipients who initiated SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations within 12 months of HCT. Participants were enrolled at 22 academic cancer centers across the United States. Participants of any age who were planning to receive a first post-HCT SARS-CoV-2 vaccine within 12 months of HCT were eligible. We obtained blood prior to and after each vaccine dose for up to four vaccine doses, with an end-of-study sample seven to nine months after enrollment. We tested for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (anti-S) IgG; nucleocapsid protein (anti-N) IgG; neutralizing antibodies for Wuhan D614G, Delta B.1.617.2, and Omicron B.1.1.529 strains; and SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell receptors (TCRs). The primary outcome was a comparison of anti-S IgG titers at the post-V2 time point in participants initiating vaccinations(≥2403 U/mL) in logistic regression models.

FINDINGS: Between April 22, 2021 and November 17, 2021, 175 allogeneic HCT recipients were enrolled in the study, of whom all but one received mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. SARS-CoV-2 anti-S IgG titers, neutralizing antibody titers, and TCR breadth and depth did not significantly differ at all tested time points following the second vaccination among those initiating vaccinations≥2403 U/mL correlated with neutralizing antibody levels similar to those observed in a prior study of non-immunocompromised individuals, and 57% of participants achieved anti-S IgG ≥2403 U/mL at the end-of-study time point. In models adjusted for SARS-CoV-2 infection pre-enrollment, SARS-CoV-2 vaccination pre-HCT, CD19+ B-cell count, CD4+ T-cell count, and age (as applicable to the model), vaccine initiation timing was not associated with high-level anti-S IgG titers at the post-V2, post-V3, or end-of-study time points. Notably, prior graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) or use of immunosuppressive medications were not associated with high-level anti-S IgG titers. Grade ≥3 vaccine-associated adverse events were infrequent.

INTERPRETATION: These data support starting mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccination three months after HCT, irrespective of concurrent GVHD or use of immunosuppressive medications. This is one of the largest prospective analyses of vaccination for any pathogen within the first year after allogeneic HCT and supports current guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 vaccination starting three months post-HCT. Additionally, there are few studies of mRNA vaccine formulations for other pathogens in HCT recipients, and these data provide encouraging proof-of-concept for the utility of early vaccination targeting additional pathogens with mRNA vaccine platforms.

FUNDING: National Marrow Donor Program, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Novartis, LabCorp, American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, Adaptive Biotechnologies, and the National Institutes of Health.



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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Medicine, Hematology-Medical Oncology Division

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