BACKGROUND: Solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients have shown suboptimal antibody response following COVID-19 vaccination. Several risk factors for the diminished response have been identified including immunosuppression and older age, but the influence of different comorbidities is not fully elucidated.

METHOD: This case-control study consisted of 420 Danish adult SOT recipients and 840 sex- and age-matched controls, all vaccinated with a third homologous dose of either BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) or mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccine. The primary outcome was differences in humoral immune response. The secondary outcome was breakthrough infections. Additionally, we looked for factors that could predict possible differences between the two groups.

RESULTS: Response rate increased from 186/382 (49%) to 275/358 (77%) in SOT recipients and remained on 781/790 (99%) to 601/609 (99%) in controls following a third vaccine dose. SOT recipients had significantly lower median antibody concentrations after third dose compared to controls (332.6 BAU/ml vs 46,470.0 BAU/ml, p <0.001). Lowest median antibody concentrations were seen in SOT recipients with liver disease (10.3 BAU/ml, IQR 7.1-319) and diabetes (275.3 BAU/ml, IQR 7.3-957.4). Breakthrough infections occurred similarly frequent, 150 (40%) among cases and 301 (39%) among controls (p = 0.80).

CONCLUSION: A third COVID-19 vaccine dose resulted in a significant increase in humoral immunogenicity in SOT recipients and maintained high response rate in controls. Furthermore, SOT recipients were less likely to produce antibodies with overall lower antibody concentrations and humoral immunity was highly influenced by the presence of liver disease and diabetes. The prevalence of breakthrough infections was similar in the two groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1039245
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 9. Dec 2022


  • COVID-19 vaccine
  • Solid organ transplant
  • comorbidities
  • humoral response
  • third dose


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