Post-vaccination SARS-CoV-2 IgG spike antibody responses among clinical and nonclinical healthcare workers at a tertiary facility in Kenya

Lucy W. Mwangi, Geoffrey Omuse, Rodney Adam, George Ong'ete, Cyrus Matheka, Patrick Mugaine, Shahin Sayed, Daniel Maina

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Introduction Following the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, vaccination became the main strategy against disease severity and even death. Healthcare workers were considered high-risk for infection and, thus, were prioritised for vaccination. Methods A follow-up to a SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence study among clinical and non-clinical HCWs at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, we assessed how vaccination influenced SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike IgG antibody responses and kinetics. Blood samples were drawn at two points spanning 6 to 18 months post-vaccination, and SARS-CoV-2 spike antibody levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results Almost all participants, 98% (961/981), received a second vaccine dose, and only 8.5% (83/ 981) received a third dose. SARS-CoV-2 spike IgG antibodies were detected in 100% (961/ 961) and 92.7% (707/762) of participants who received two vaccine doses, with the first and second post-vaccine test, respectively, and in 100% (83/83) and 91.4% (64/70) of those who received three vaccine doses at the first and second post-vaccine test, respectively. Seventy-six participants developed mild infections, not requiring hospitalisation even after receiving primary vaccination. Receiving three vaccine doses influenced the anti-spike S/Co at both the first (p<0.001) and second post-vaccination testing (p<0.001). Of those who tested SARS-CoV-2 positive, the anti-spike S/Co ratio was significantly higher than those who were seronegative at the first post-vaccine test (p = 0.001). Side effects were reportedby almost half of those who received the first dose, 47.3% (464/981), 28.9% (278/961) and 25.3% (21/83) of those who received the second and third vaccine doses, respectively. Discussion and conclusion Following the second dose of primary vaccination, all participants had detectable anti-spike antibodies. The observed mild breakthrough infections may have been due to emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Findings suggest that although protective antibodies are induced, vaccination protected against COVID-19 disease severity and not necessarily infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0299302
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4 April
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


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