Analysis of Postvaccination Breakthrough COVID-19 Infections among Adults with HIV in the United States

Sally B. Coburn, Elizabeth Humes, Raynell Lang, Cameron Stewart, Brenna C. Hogan, Kelly A. Gebo, Sonia Napravnik, Jessie K. Edwards, Lindsay E. Browne, Lesley S. Park, Amy C. Justice, Kirsha S. Gordon, Michael A. Horberg, Julia M. Certa, Eric Watson, Celeena R. Jefferson, Michael J. Silverberg, Jacek Skarbinski, Wendy A. Leyden, Carolyn F. WilliamsKeri N. Althoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: Recommendations for additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines for people with HIV (PWH) are restricted to those with advanced disease or unsuppressed HIV viral load. Understanding SARS-CoV-2 infection risk after vaccination among PWH is essential for informing vaccination guidelines. Objective: To estimate the rate and risk of breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated PWH and people without HIV (PWoH) in the United States. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study used the Corona-Infectious-Virus Epidemiology Team (CIVET)-II (of the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design [NA-ACCORD], which is part of the International Epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS [IeDEA]), collaboration of 4 prospective, electronic health record-based cohorts from integrated health systems and academic health centers. Adult PWH who were fully vaccinated prior to June 30, 2021, were matched with PWoH on date of full vaccination, age, race and ethnicity, and sex and followed up through December 31, 2021. Exposures: HIV infection. Main Outcomes and Measures: COVID-19 breakthrough infections, defined as laboratory evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 diagnosis after a patient was fully vaccinated. Results: Among 113994 patients (33029 PWH and 80965 PWoH), most were 55 years or older (80017 [70%]) and male (104967 [92%]); 47098 (41%) were non-Hispanic Black, and 43218 (38%) were non-Hispanic White. The rate of breakthrough infections was higher in PWH vs PWoH (55 [95% CI, 52-58] cases per 1000 person-years vs 43 [95% CI, 42-45] cases per 1000 person-years). Cumulative incidence of breakthroughs 9 months after full vaccination was low (3.8% [95% CI, 3.7%-3.9%]), albeit higher in PWH vs PWoH (4.4% vs 3.5%; log-rank P <.001; risk difference, 0.9% [95% CI, 0.6%-1.2%]) and within each vaccine type. Breakthrough infection risk was 28% higher in PWH vs PWoH (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.28 [95% CI, 1.19-1.37]). Among PWH, younger age (<45 y vs 45-54 y), history of COVID-19, and not receiving an additional dose (aHR, 0.71 [95% CI, 0.58-0.88]) were associated with increased risk of breakthrough infections. There was no association of breakthrough with HIV viral load suppression, but high CD4 count (ie, ≥500 cells/mm3) was associated with fewer breakthroughs among PWH. Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, COVID-19 vaccination, especially with an additional dose, was effective against infection with SARS-CoV-2 strains circulating through December 31, 2021. PWH had an increased risk of breakthrough infections compared with PWoH. Expansion of recommendations for additional vaccine doses to all PWH should be considered..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2215934
JournalJAMA Network Open
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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