Antibody responses are an important part of immunity after Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination. However, antibody trajectories and the associated duration of protection after a second vaccine dose remain unclear. In this study, we investigated anti-spike IgG antibody responses and correlates of protection after second doses of ChAdOx1 or BNT162b2 vaccines for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the United Kingdom general population. In 222,493 individuals, we found significant boosting of anti-spike IgG by the second doses of both vaccines in all ages and using different dosing intervals, including the 3-week interval for BNT162b2. After second vaccination, BNT162b2 generated higher peak levels than ChAdOX1. Older individuals and males had lower peak levels with BNT162b2 but not ChAdOx1, whereas declines were similar across ages and sexes with ChAdOX1 or BNT162b2. Prior infection significantly increased antibody peak level and half-life with both vaccines. Anti-spike IgG levels were associated with protection from infection after vaccination and, to an even greater degree, after prior infection. At least 67% protection against infection was estimated to last for 2–3 months after two ChAdOx1 doses, for 5–8 months after two BNT162b2 doses in those without prior infection and for 1–2 years for those unvaccinated after natural infection. A third booster dose might be needed, prioritized to ChAdOx1 recipients and those more clinically vulnerable.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Cite as

Wei, J., Pouwels, K., Stoesser, N., Matthews, P., Diamond, I., Studley, R., Rourke, E., Cook, D., Bell, J., Newton, J., Farrar, J., Howarth, A., Marsden, B., Hoosdally, S., Jones, E., Stuart, D., Crook, D., Peto, T., Walker, A., Eyre, D. & team, C. 2022, 'Antibody responses and correlates of protection in the general population after two doses of the ChAdOx1 or BNT162b2 vaccines', Nature Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01721-6

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 29 October 2022
Was this page helpful?