Objectives: To investigate the response of the immune system (and its influencing factors) to vaccination with BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273. Methods: 531 vaccinees, recruited from healthcare professionals, donated samples before, in between, and after the administration of the two doses of the vaccine. T- and B-cell responses were examined via interferon-γ (IFN-γ) release assay, and antibodies against different epitopes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (S1 and NCP) were detected via ELISA and surrogate neutralization assay. Results were correlated with influencing factors such as age, sex, prior infection, vaccine received (BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273), and immunosuppression. Furthermore, antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) were measured to screen for autoimmune responses following vaccination with an mRNA vaccine. Results: No markers of immunity against SARS-CoV-2 were found before the first vaccination. Two weeks after it, specific responses against SARS-CoV-2 were already measurable (median ± median absolute deviation (MAD): anti-S1 IgG 195.5 ± 172.7 BAU/mL; IgA 6.7 ± 4.9 OD; surrogate neutralization 39 ± 23.7%), and were significantly increased two weeks after the second dose (anti-S1 IgG 3744 ± 2571.4 BAU/mL; IgA 12 ± 0 OD; surrogate neutralization 100 ± 0%, IFN-γ 1897.2 ± 886.7 mIU/mL). Responses were stronger for younger participants (this difference decreasing after the second dose). Further influences were previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 (causing significantly stronger responses after the first dose compared to unexposed individuals (p ≤ 0.0001)) and the vaccine received (significantly stronger reactions for recipients of mRNA-1273 after both doses, p < 0.05–0.0001). Some forms of immunosuppression significantly impeded the immune response to the vaccination (with no observable immune response in three immunosuppressed participants). There was no significant induction of ANAs by the vaccination (no change in qualitative ANA results (p 0.2592) nor ANA titres (p 0.08) from pre-to post-vaccination. Conclusions: Both vaccines elicit strong and specific immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 which become detectable one week (T-cell response) or two weeks (B-cell response) after the first dose.

ZeitschriftClinical Microbiology and Infection
Seiten (von - bis)701-709
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 05.2022

Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren

  • Forschungsschwerpunkt: Infektion und Entzündung - Zentrum für Infektions- und Entzündungsforschung Lübeck (ZIEL)


  • 204-05 Immunologie
  • 205-22 Klinische Immunologie und Allergologie