Special Issue "COVID-19 Vaccines: The Way Back to Normal Life Is Now Marked"

A special issue of Vaccines (ISSN 2076-393X). This special issue belongs to the section "COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccination".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 22 July 2022 | Viewed by 8338

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Matteo Bassetti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, 16126 Genoa, Italy
2. Clinica Malattie Infettive, Ospedale Policlinico San Martino–IRCCS, 16132 Genoa, Italy
Interests: antimicrobial resistance; new antibiotics; critically ill patients; pneumonia; influenza
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Antonio Vena
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, 16126 Genoa, Italy
2. Clinica Malattie Infettive, Ospedale Policlinico San Martino–IRCCS, 16132 Genoa, Italy
Interests: candidemia; invasive aspergillosis; rare mould infections; invasive candidiasis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has dramatically changed our lives, representing a serious public health problem with substantial morbidity and mortality and resulting in considerable economic damage worldwide. Despite nationwide lockdowns trying to control the widespread diffusion of the virus, more than 2.5 million infected individuals have died from COVID-19 over the last year.

There are very few therapeutic options to date, and COVID-19 vaccine development has been accelerated in hope of rapidly containing the pandemic and returning to ‘normal life’. Several vaccines have already been commercialized and are distributed in nationwide mass immunization campaigns. The aim of this Special Issue is to summarize general knowledge of COVID-19 vaccine responses in general and special populations (e.g., pediatric population, adolescents and pregnant women) and to discuss current knowledge, current recommendations and controversies regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

Prof. Dr. Matteo Bassetti
Dr. Antonio Vena
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Vaccines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • vaccines
  • mRNA
  • safety data
  • variants

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Increasing Uptake of COVID-19 Vaccination and Reducing Health Inequalities in Patients on Renal Replacement Therapy—Experience from a Single Tertiary Centre
Vaccines 2022, 10(6), 939; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10060939 - 13 Jun 2022
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Abstract
Background: COVID-19 vaccination has changed the landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, decreased uptake due to vaccine hesitancy has been observed, particularly in patients from minority ethnic backgrounds and socially deprived areas. These patient characteristics are common in patients on Renal Replacement Therapy [...] Read more.
Background: COVID-19 vaccination has changed the landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, decreased uptake due to vaccine hesitancy has been observed, particularly in patients from minority ethnic backgrounds and socially deprived areas. These patient characteristics are common in patients on Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT), a population at extremely high risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19 and who would thus benefit the most from the vaccination programme. We designed a bespoke COVID-19 vaccination programme for our RRT population with the aim of decreasing health inequalities and increasing vaccination uptake. Methods: Key interventions included addressing vaccine hesitancy by deploying the respective clinical teams as trusted messengers, prompt eligible patient identification and notification, the deployment of resources to optimise vaccine administration in a manner convenient to patients, and the timely collection and analysis of local safety and efficacy data. First, COVID-19 vaccination data in relation to ethnicity and social deprivation in our RRT population, measured by the multiple deprivation index, were analysed and compared to uptake data in the total regional adult clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) population in Greater Manchester (GM). Univariate logistic regression analysis was used to explore the factors associated with not receiving a vaccine. Results: Out of 1156 RRT patients included in this analysis, 96.7% received the first dose of the vaccination compared to 93% in the cohort of CEV patients in the GM. Age, gender, ethnicity, and a lower index of multiple deprivation were not identified as significant risk factors for poor first dose vaccine uptake in our cohort. Vaccine uptake in Asian and Black RRT patients was 94.9% and 92.3%, respectively, compared to 93% and 76.2% for the same ethnic groups in the reference CEV GM. Vaccine uptake was 96.1% for RRT patients in the lowest quartile of the multiple deprivation index, compared to 90.5% in the GM reference population. Conclusion: Bespoke COVID-19 vaccination programmes based on local clinical teams as trusted messengers can improve negative attitudes towards vaccination and reduce health inequalities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19 Vaccines: The Way Back to Normal Life Is Now Marked)
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Article
Balancing Benefits and Harms of COVID-19 Vaccines: Lessons from the Ongoing Mass Vaccination Campaign in Lombardy, Italy
Vaccines 2022, 10(4), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10040623 - 15 Apr 2022
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Abstract
Background. Limited evidence exists on the balance between the benefits and harms of the COVID-19 vaccines. The aim of this study is to compare the benefits and safety of mRNA-based (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) and adenovirus-vectored (Oxford-AstraZeneca) vaccines in subpopulations defined by age [...] Read more.
Background. Limited evidence exists on the balance between the benefits and harms of the COVID-19 vaccines. The aim of this study is to compare the benefits and safety of mRNA-based (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) and adenovirus-vectored (Oxford-AstraZeneca) vaccines in subpopulations defined by age and sex. Methods. All citizens who are newly vaccinated from 27 December 2020 to 3 May 2021 are matched to unvaccinated controls according to age, sex, and vaccination date. Study outcomes include the events that are expected to be avoided by vaccination (i.e., hospitalization and death from COVID-19) and those that might be increased after vaccine inoculation (i.e., venous thromboembolism). The incidence rate ratios (IRR) of vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens are separately estimated within strata of sex, age category and vaccine type. When suitable, number needed to treat (NNT) and number needed to harm (NNH) are calculated to evaluate the balance between the benefits and harm of vaccines within each sex and age category. Results. In total, 2,351,883 citizens are included because they received at least one dose of vaccine (755,557 Oxford-AstraZeneca and 1,596,326 Pfizer/Moderna). A reduced incidence of COVID-19-related outcomes is observed with a lowered incidence rate ranging from 55% to 89% and NNT values ranging from 296 to 3977. Evidence of an augmented incidence of harm-related outcomes is observed only for women aged <50 years within 28 days after Oxford-AstraZeneca (being the corresponding adjusted IRR of 2.4, 95% CI 1.1–5.6, and NNH value of 23,207, 95% CI 10,274–89,707). Conclusions. A favourable balance between benefits and harms is observed in the current study, even among younger women who received Oxford-AstraZeneca. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19 Vaccines: The Way Back to Normal Life Is Now Marked)
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Article
Cognition and Behavior of COVID-19 Vaccination Based on the Health Belief Model: A Cross-Sectional Study
Vaccines 2022, 10(4), 544; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10040544 - 01 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 722
Abstract
Background: Vaccination is the most effective method for the prevention of COVID-19. However, willingness to be vaccinated is not consistent. This study aimed to explore vaccine cognition, risk perception, and health behavior of COVID-19 in China. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was performed in [...] Read more.
Background: Vaccination is the most effective method for the prevention of COVID-19. However, willingness to be vaccinated is not consistent. This study aimed to explore vaccine cognition, risk perception, and health behavior of COVID-19 in China. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was performed in Guangdong province, China, including demographic characteristics, health status and preventive behaviors, cognition of COVID-19 vaccination, and the health belief model (HBM). Results: A total of 1640 participants were recruited. The main access to information about COVID-19 and vaccination as through official news and broadcasts (67.3%), social network software (58.7%), and professional popularization (46.2%). The precautions taken were wearing a mask (67.0%) and avoiding gathering together (71.3%). COVID-19 vaccination acceptability was different among different age groups and educational levels (p < 0.001). The major reasons for accepting vaccination included that it was an effective way to prevent COVID-19 (61.8%) and that it was required by working units/schools (51.1%). The fitting effect indexes of the (HBM) Model 2 showed better fitting than those of Model 1. In Model 2, perceived benefits (OR = 3.13, 95% CI: 1.79–5.47), cues to action (OR = 2.23, 95% CI: 1.60–3.11), and different occupations (OR = 1.13, 95% CI: 1.04–1.23) were positively correlated with vaccine acceptance; while perceived susceptibility (OR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.30–0.74) and perceived barriers (OR = 0.44, 95% CI: 0.29–0.69) were negative factors associated with vaccine acceptance. Conclusion: Different sociodemographic characteristics lead to differences in acceptance of vaccination, and the publicity and credibility of government play an indispensable role in epidemic control. The establishment of the HBM further predicted that perceived susceptibility to COVID-19, benefits of vaccination, barriers of cognition, and cue to action were the influencing factors of intention and health behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19 Vaccines: The Way Back to Normal Life Is Now Marked)
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Article
Childhood Immunisation Coverage during the COVID-19 Epidemic in Italy
Vaccines 2022, 10(1), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10010120 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1200
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected national healthcare systems worldwide, with around 282 million cumulative confirmed cases reported in over 220 countries and territories as of the end of 2021. The Italian National Health System was heavily affected, with detrimental impacts on preventive service [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected national healthcare systems worldwide, with around 282 million cumulative confirmed cases reported in over 220 countries and territories as of the end of 2021. The Italian National Health System was heavily affected, with detrimental impacts on preventive service delivery. Routine vaccination services were disrupted across the country during the first months of the pandemic, and both access to and demand for vaccines have decreased during the pandemic. In many cases, parents preferred to postpone scheduled appointments for routine paediatric vaccinations because of stay-at-home orders or fear of COVID-19 infection when accessing care. The objective of the current study was to assess the routine childhood vaccine coverage (VC) rates during the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy. We compared 2020 and 2019 VC by age group and vaccine type. The Italian Ministry of Health collected anonymised and aggregated immunisation national data through the local health authorities (LHAs). Results were considered statistically significant at a two-tailed p-value ≤ 0.05. VC rates for mandatory vaccinations decreased in 2020 compared to 2019 (range of VC rate decrease: −1% to −2.7%), while chicken pox increased (+2.2%) in 7-year-old children. Recommended vaccinations were moderately affected (range of VC rate decrease in 2020 vs. 2019: −1.4% to −8.5%), with the exception of anti-HPV in males, Men ACWY, and anti-rotavirus vaccination (VC increase 2020 vs. 2019: +1.8%, +4.7% and +9.4%, respectively). In the COVID-19 era, the implementation of coherent, transparent, and effective communication campaigns and educational programs on safe childhood vaccinations, together with the increase in the number of healthcare staff employed, is essential to support strategies to reinforce vaccination confidence and behaviour, thus avoiding health threats due to VPD during and beyond COVID-19 times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19 Vaccines: The Way Back to Normal Life Is Now Marked)
Article
Rapid Weight Loss, Central Obesity Improvement and Blood Glucose Reduction Are Associated with a Stronger Adaptive Immune Response Following COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine
Vaccines 2022, 10(1), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10010079 - 05 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2310
Abstract
Obesity is associated with a poor COVID-19 prognosis, and it seems associated with reduced humoral response to vaccination. Public health campaigns have advocated for weight loss in subjects with obesity, hoping to eliminate this risk. However, no evidence proves that weight loss leads [...] Read more.
Obesity is associated with a poor COVID-19 prognosis, and it seems associated with reduced humoral response to vaccination. Public health campaigns have advocated for weight loss in subjects with obesity, hoping to eliminate this risk. However, no evidence proves that weight loss leads to a better prognosis or a stronger immune response to vaccination. We aimed to investigate the impact of rapid weight loss on the adaptive immune response in subjects with morbid obesity. Twenty-one patients followed a hypocaloric, very-low-carbohydrate diet one week before to one week after the two mRNA vaccine doses. The diet’s safety and efficacy were assessed, and the adaptive humoral (anti-SARS CoV-2 S antibodies, Abs) and cell-mediated responses (IFNγ secretion on stimulation with two different SARS CoV-2 peptide mixes, IFNγ-1 and IFNγ-2) were evaluated. The patients lost ~10% of their body weight with metabolic improvement. A high baseline BMI correlated with a poor immune response (R −0.558, p = 0.013 for IFNγ-1; R −0.581, p = 0.009 for IFNγ-2; R −0.512, p = 0.018 for Abs). Furthermore, there was a correlation between weight loss and higher IFNγ-2 (R 0.471, p = 0.042), and between blood glucose reduction and higher IFNγ-1 (R 0.534, p = 0.019), maintained after weight loss and waist circumference reduction adjustment. Urate reduction correlated with higher Abs (R 0.552, p = 0.033). In conclusion, obesity is associated with a reduced adaptive response to a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, and weight loss and metabolic improvement may reverse the effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19 Vaccines: The Way Back to Normal Life Is Now Marked)
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Review

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Review
The Effect of Smoking on Humoral Response to COVID-19 Vaccines: A Systematic Review of Epidemiological Studies
Vaccines 2022, 10(2), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10020303 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2267
Abstract
While the role of active smoking on response to vaccines is yet to be fully understood, some real-world studies have outlined a possible link between smoking and humoral response to COVID-19 vaccines. Thus, the present rapid systematic review aimed at summarizing the current [...] Read more.
While the role of active smoking on response to vaccines is yet to be fully understood, some real-world studies have outlined a possible link between smoking and humoral response to COVID-19 vaccines. Thus, the present rapid systematic review aimed at summarizing the current epidemiological evidence on this association. Following PRISMA and WHO guidelines on rapid systematic reviews, we systematically reviewed published literature on this topic and discussed the findings according to the aim of analysing smoking and its impact on humoral response to COVID-19 postvaccination antibody titres. The search strategy yielded a total of 23 articles. The sample size amongst the studies ranged between 74 and 3475 participants (median, 360), with the proportion of smokers being between 4.2% and 40.8% (median, 26.0%). The studies included in this review analysis investigated the dynamics of antibody response to different type of COVID-19 vaccines. In 17 out of 23 studies, current smokers showed much lower antibody titres or more rapid lowering of the vaccine-induced IgG compared with nonsmokers. This rapid systematic review indicates that active smoking negatively impacts humoral response to COVID-19 vaccines, although the pathophysiologic mechanisms for this association have not been entirely suggested. The results advocate targeted policies to promote tailored health promotion initiatives, which can increase risk perception and ensure appropriate protection measures to be taken to avoid the health consequences of COVID-19 in smokers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19 Vaccines: The Way Back to Normal Life Is Now Marked)
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