Real-world impact of vaccination on COVID-19 incidence in health care personnel at an academic medical center

Sarah E. Waldman, Jason Y. Adams, Timothy E. Albertson, Maya M. Juárez, Sharon L. Myers, Ashish Atreja, Sumeet Batra, Elena E. Foster, Cy V. Huynh, Anna Y. Liu, David A. Lubarsky, Victoria T. Ngo, Christian E. Sandrock, Sandra L. Taylor, Ann M. Tompkins, Stuart H. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: COVID-19 vaccination effectiveness in healthcare personnel (HCP) has been established, however, questions remain about its performance in high-risk healthcare occupations and work locations. We describe the effect of a COVID-19 HCP vaccination campaign on SARS-CoV-2 infection by timing of vaccination, job type, and work location. Methods: A retrospective review of COVID-19 vaccination acceptance, incidence of post-vaccination COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality among 16,156 faculty, students, and staff at a large academic medical center was conducted. Data were collected 8 weeks prior to the start of Phase 1a vaccination of frontline employees and ended 11 weeks after campaign completion. Results: COVID-19 employee incidence rate at our institution decreased from 3.2% during the 8 weeks prior to the start of vaccinations to 0.38% by four weeks after campaign initiation. SARS-CoV-2 infection risk was reduced among individuals receiving a single vaccination (HR = 0.52 [0.40, 0.68], p<0.0001) and further reduced with 2 doses of vaccine (HR = 0.17 [0.09, 0.32], p<0.0001). By two weeks after the second dose, the observed case positivity rate was 0.04%. Among Phase 1a HCP, we observed a lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among physicians and a trend toward higher risk for respiratory therapists independent of vaccination status. Rates of infection were similar in a sub-group of nurses when examined by work location. Conclusions: Our findings show the real-world effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination in HCP. Despite these encouraging results, unvaccinated HCP remain at an elevated risk of infection highlighting the need for targeted outreach to combat vaccine hesitancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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