Immunogenicity and reactogenicity of intradermal mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 vaccination: a non-inferiority, randomized-controlled trial.

Prins MLM, Roozen GVT, Pothast CR, Huisman W, van Binnendijk R, den Hartog G, Kuiper VP, Prins C, Janse JJ, Lamers OAC, Koopman JPR, Kruithof AC, Kamerling IMC, Dijkland RC, de Kroon AC, Azimi S, Feltkamp MCW, Kuijer M, Jochems SP, Heemskerk MHM, Rosendaal FR, Roestenberg M, Visser LG, Roukens AHE

Fractional dosing can be a cost-effective vaccination strategy to accelerate individual and herd immunity in a pandemic. We assessed the immunogenicity and safety of primary intradermal (ID) vaccination, with a 1/5th dose compared with the standard intramuscular (IM) dose of mRNA-1273 in SARS-CoV-2 naïve persons. We conducted an open-label, non-inferiority, randomized controlled trial in the Netherlands between June and December 2021. One hundred and fifty healthy and SARS-CoV-2 naïve participants, aged 18-30 years, were randomized (1:1:1) to receive either two doses of 20 µg mRNA-1273 ID with a standard needle (SN) or the Bella-mu® needle (BM), or two doses of 100 µg IM, 28 days apart. The primary outcome was non-inferiority in seroconversion rates at day 43 (D43), defined as a neutralizing antibody concentration threshold of 465 IU/mL, the lowest response in the IM group. The non-inferiority margin was set at -15%. Neutralizing antibody concentrations at D43 were 1789 (95% CI: 1488-2150) in the IM and 1263 (951-1676) and 1295 (1020-1645) in the ID-SN and ID-BM groups, respectively. The absolute difference in seroconversion proportion between fractional and standard-dose groups was -13.95% (-24.31 to -3.60) for the ID-SN and -13.04% (-22.78 to -3.31) for the ID-BM group and exceeded the predefined non-inferiority margin. Although ID vaccination with 1/5th dose of mRNA-1273 did not meet the predefined non-inferior criteria, the neutralizing antibody concentrations in these groups are far above the proposed proxy for protection against severe disease (100 IU/mL), justifying this strategy in times of vaccine scarcity to accelerate mass protection against severe disease.