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Adverse events of special interest following the use of BNT162b2 in adolescents: a population-based retrospective cohort study

posted on 21.03.2022, 10:20 authored by Francisco Tsz Tsun Lai, Gilbert T. Chua, Edward Wai Wa Chan, Lei Huang, Mike Yat Wah Kwan, Tiantian Ma, Xiwen Qin, Celine Sze Ling Chui, Xue Li, Eric Yuk Fai Wan, Carlos King Ho Wong, Esther Wai Yin Chan, Ian Chi Kei Wong, Patrick Ip

Accruing evidence suggests an increased risk of myocarditis in adolescents from messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines. However, other potential adverse events remain under-researched. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adolescents aged 12–18 with a territory-wide electronic healthcare database of the Hong Kong population linked with population-based vaccination records and supplemented with age- and sex-specific population numbers. Two age- and sex-matched retrospective cohorts were formed to observe 28 days following the first and second doses of BNT162b2 and estimate the age- and sex-adjusted incidence rate ratios between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Thirty AESIs adapted from the World Health Organization’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety were examined. Eventually, the first-dose cohort comprised 274,881 adolescents (50.25% received the first dose) and the second-dose cohort 237,964 (50.29% received the second dose). Ninety-four (34.2 per 100,000 persons) adolescents in the first-dose cohort and 130 (54.6 per 100,000 persons) in the second-dose cohort experienced ≥1 AESIs. There were no statistically significant differences in the risk of any AESI associated with BNT162b2 except myocarditis [first-dose cohort: incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 9.15, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.14–73.16; second-dose cohort: IRR = 29.61, 95% CI 4.04–217.07] and sleeping disturbances/disorders after the second dose (IRR = 2.06, 95% CI 1.01–4.24). Sensitivity analysis showed that, with myocarditis excluded as AESIs, no significantly elevated risk of AESIs as a composite outcome associated with vaccination was observed (P = 0.195). To conclude, the overall absolute risk of AESIs was low with no evidence of an increased risk of AESIs except myocarditis and sleeping disturbances/disorders.


This study was regulatory-initiated pharmacovigilance and was funded by a research grant from the Food and Health Bureau of The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Reference COVID19F01).