Recipient-Reported Reactogenicity of Different SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination Regimens among Healthcare Professionals and Police Staff in Germany
The rapid availability of effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 was key during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, vaccine hesitancy and relatively low vaccine coverage rates among the general population and particularly vulnerable populations such as healthcare staff reduced the potential benefits of these vaccines. During the early phase of the pandemic, fear of vaccine-related adverse events was common among individuals who refused vaccination. Between March and May 2021, we comparatively assessed the self-reported reactogenicity of different SARS-CoV-2 prime-boost regimens using mRNA-based (BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273) and vector-based vaccines (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) in (a) healthcare workers (HCW), and (b) police staff from southwest Germany. The majority of participants (71.8%; 1564/2176) received a homologous vaccination. Among HCW, 75.0% were female, whereas 70.0% of police staff were male. The most frequently reported reactions following the first vaccine administration were pain at the injection site (77.94%; 1696/2176), tiredness (51.75%; 1126/2176), and headache (40.44%; 880/2176), which were more commonly reported by HCW as compared to police staff. In homologous, mRNA-based and heterologous vaccination schedules, more reactions were reported after the second vaccine dose. We conclude that the frequency and intensity of self-perceived vaccine reactogenicity may differ between specific population groups and might be mitigated by tailored communication strategies.