Chutima Seree-aphinan, Ploysyne Rattanakaemakorn, Poonkiat Suchonwanit, Kunlawat Thadanipon, Yanisa Ratanapokasatit, Tanat Yongpisarn, Kumthorn Malathum, Pornchai Simaroj, Chavachol Setthaudom, Onchuma Lohjai, Somsak Tanrattanakorn, Kumutnart Chanprapaph

Immunogenicity of Intradermal Versus Intramuscular BNT162b2 COVID-19 Booster Vaccine in Patients with Immune-Mediated Dermatologic Diseases: A Non-Inferiority Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology

The intradermal route has emerged as a dose-sparing alternative during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite its efficacy in healthy populations, its immunogenicity has not been tested in immune-mediated dermatologic disease (IMDD) patients. This assessor-blinded, randomized-controlled, non-inferiority trial recruited patients with two representative IMDDs (i.e., psoriasis and autoimmune bullous diseases) to vaccinate with fractionated-dose intradermal (fID) or standard intramuscular (sIM) BNT162b2 vaccines as a fourth booster dose under block randomization stratified by age, sex, and their skin diseases. Post-vaccination SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG and interferon-γ responses measured 4 and 12 weeks post-intervention were serological surrogates used for demonstrating treatment effects. Mean differences in log-normalized outcome estimates were calculated with multivariable linear regression adjusting for their baseline values, systemic immunosuppressants used, and prior COVID-19 vaccination history. The non-inferiority margin was set for fID to retain >80% immunogenicity of sIM. With 109 participants included, 53 received fID (all entered an intention-to-treat analysis). The fID demonstrated non-inferiority to sIM in humoral (mean outcome estimates of sIM: 3.3, ΔfID-sIM [mean, 95%CI]: −0.1, −0.3 to 0.0) and cellular (mean outcome estimates of sIM: 3.2, ΔfID-sIM [mean, 95%CI]: 0.1, −0.2 to 0.3) immunogenicity outcomes. Two psoriasis patients from the fID arm (3.8%) developed injection-site Koebner’s phenomenon. Fewer fID recipients experienced post-vaccination fever (fID vs. sIM: 1.9% vs. 12.5%, p = 0.027). The overall incidence of disease flare-ups was low without a statistically significant difference between groups. The intradermal BNT162b2 vaccine is a viable booster option for IMDD patients troubled by post-vaccination fever; its role in mitigating the risk of flare-ups remains unclear.

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