UKCCEP- Vaccine effectiveness evaluation programme

A population-based test-negative case-control study

People with cancer are at increased risk of hospitalisation and death following infection with SARS-CoV-2. This study consisted of the first evaluations of vaccine effectiveness against breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections in patients with cancer at a population level.

The cancer cohort comprised 377 194 individuals, of whom 42 882 had breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections. The control population consisted of 28 010 955 individuals, of whom 5 748 708 had SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections. Overall vaccine effectiveness was 69·8% (95% CI 69·8–69·9) in the control population and 65·5% (65·1–65·9) in the cancer cohort. Vaccine effectiveness at 3–6 months was lower in the cancer cohort (47·0%, 46·3–47·6) than in the control population (61·4%, 61·4–61·5).

We conclude that COVID-19 vaccination is effective for individuals with cancer, conferring varying levels of protection against breakthrough infections. However, vaccine effectiveness is lower in patients with cancer than in the general population. COVID-19 vaccination for patients with cancer should be used in conjunction with non-pharmacological strategies and community-based antiviral treatment programmes to reduce the risk that COVID-19 poses to patients with cancer.


Start date: Feb 21

Delivery date: May 22

Cohort: Population scale of all cancer patients

Headline findings: “Vaccine effectiveness in cancerpatients wanes at 3-6m” 

Impact: “Prioritisation for cancer patients to get booster programmes” 


Start date: Feb 22

Delivery date: July 22

Cohort: Population scale of all cancer patients

Headline findings: “Third dose booster work for most cancer types, but cancer patients remain at higher risk of severe COVID-19 hospitalisation and death than the population”

Impact: “Re-shaping of UK priority lists to have a more comprehensive list of cancer patients ”