UK COVID-19 vaccination policy has evolved to offering COVID-19 booster doses to individuals at increased risk of severe Illness from COVID-19. Building on our analyses of vaccine effectiveness of first, second and initial booster doses, we aimed to identify individuals at increased risk of severe outcomes (i.e., COVID-19 related hospitalisation or death) post the autumn 2022 booster dose.


We undertook a national population-based cohort analysis across all four UK nations through linked primary care, vaccination, hospitalisation and mortality data. We included individuals who received autumn 2022 booster doses of BNT162b2 (Comirnaty) or mRNA-1273 (Spikevax) during the period September 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022 to investigate the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between demographic and clinical factors and severe COVID-19 outcomes after the autumn booster dose. Analyses were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), deprivation, urban/rural areas and comorbidities. Stratified analyses were conducted by vaccine type. We then conducted a fixed-effect meta-analysis to combine results across the four UK nations.


Between September 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022, 7,451,890 individuals ≥18 years received an autumn booster dose. 3500 had severe COVID-19 outcomes (2.9 events per 1000 person-years). Being male (male vs female, aHR 1.41 (1.32–1.51)), older adults (≥80 years vs 18–49 years; 10.43 (8.06–13.50)), underweight (BMI <18.5 vs BMI 25.0–29.9; 2.94 (2.51–3.44)), those with comorbidities (≥5 comorbidities vs none; 9.45 (8.15–10.96)) had a higher risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation or death after the autumn booster dose. Those with a larger household size (≥11 people within household vs 2 people; 1.56 (1.23–1.98)) and from more deprived areas (most deprived vs least deprived quintile; 1.35 (1.21–1.51)) had modestly higher risks. We also observed at least a two-fold increase in risk for those with various chronic neurological conditions, including Down's syndrome, immunodeficiency, chronic kidney disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, or cardiovascular disease.


Males, older individuals, underweight individuals, those with an increasing number of comorbidities, from a larger household or more deprived areas, and those with specific underlying health conditions remained at increased risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation and death after the autumn 2022 vaccine booster dose. There is now a need to focus on these risk groups for investigating immunogenicity and efficacy of further booster doses or therapeutics.

Cite as

Bedston, S., Almaghrabi, F., Patterson, L., Agrawal, U., Woolford, L., Anand, S., Joy, M., Crawford, A., Goudie, R., Byford, R., Abbasizanjani, H., Smith, D., Laidlaw, L., Akbari, A., Sullivan, C., Bradley, D., Lyons, R., de Lusignan, S., Hobbs, F., Robertson, C., Sheikh, A. & Shi, T. 2023, 'Risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes after autumn 2022 COVID-19 booster vaccinations: a pooled analysis of national prospective cohort studies involving 7.4 million adults in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales', The Lancet Regional Health - Europe, 37, article no: 100816. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanepe.2023.100816

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Last updated: 11 March 2024
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