Impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccine on Asymptomatic Infection Among Patients Undergoing Preprocedural COVID-19 Molecular Screening

Aaron J. Tande, Benjamin D. Pollock, Nilay D. Shah, Gianrico Farrugia, Abinash Virk, Melanie Swift, Laura Breeher, Matthew Binnicker, Elie F. Berbari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Several vaccines are now available under emergency use authorization in the United States and have demonstrated efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19. Vaccine impact on asymptomatic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is largely unknown. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of consecutive, asymptomatic adult patients (n = 39 156) within a large US healthcare system who underwent 48 333 preprocedural SARS-CoV-2 molecular screening tests between 17 December 2020 and 8 February 2021. The primary exposure of interest was vaccination with ≥1 dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The primary outcome was relative risk (RR) of a positive SARS-CoV-2 molecular test among those asymptomatic persons who had received ≥1 dose of vaccine compared with persons who had not received vaccine during the same time period. RR was adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, patient residence relative to the hospital (local vs nonlocal), healthcare system regions, and repeated screenings among patients using mixed-effects log-binomial regression. Results: Positive molecular tests in asymptomatic individuals were reported in 42 (1.4%) of 3006 tests and 1436 (3.2%) of 45 327 tests performed on vaccinated and unvaccinated patients, respectively (RR,. 44; 95% CI,. 33-.60; P < .0001). Compared with unvaccinated patients, risk of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection was lower among those >10 days after the first dose (RR,. 21; 95% CI,. 12-.37; P < .0001) and >0 days after the second dose (RR,. 20; 95% CI,. 09-.44; P < .0001) in the adjusted analysis. Conclusions: COVID-19 vaccination with an mRNA-based vaccine showed a significant association with reduced risk of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection as measured during preprocedural molecular screening. Results of this study demonstrate the impact of the vaccines on reduction in asymptomatic infections supplementing the randomized trial results on symptomatic patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • asymptomatic
  • vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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