Pediatric Meningococcal Vaccine Immunity May Wane By Adolescence Interview with:
Dr Fiona McQuaid

Clinical Research Fellow
University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Meningococcal B disease is a common cause of sepsis and meningitis
with significant mortality and morbidity. A multicomponent vaccine
against serogroup B meningococcus has been licensed for use in the
Europe, Australia, Canada and recently the USA (though only in the
10-25 years age group) but questions remain about how long the
bactericidal antibodies induced by infant vaccination persist and the
likely breath of strain coverage. This was a follow on study looking
at a group of children aged 5 years who had been vaccinated as infants
and a different group who were vaccinated for the first time at 5
years of age.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: The percentage of children with protective antibody levels who had
been immunized as infants fell in the 20 months since their last
immunization but this varied by the strain of meingococcus B tested
and by the different infant/toddler vaccination schedules.

The children who were vaccinated for the first time at 5 years of age
showed a good antibody response, but most reported pain and redness
around the site of vaccination and 4-10% had a fever.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: These data will be useful for those planning the introduction of this
vaccine into routine vaccine schedules. It seems unlikely that
immunity to meningococcal B disease will persist into adolescence,
when the second peak of disease occurs, therefore an a teenager
booster dose may be required. Five year old children immunised for the
first time with the vaccine showed a good response one month after
their second vaccine which is important if it were to be used in an
outbreak setting and the reactogenicity data will be helpful for
providers when explaining to parents what to expect after vaccination.

Of note, the vaccine is currently not licensed for use under the age
of 10 in the USA and these data may not necessarily apply to older age
groups. Clinicians should continue to follow their locally recommended
vaccination schedules.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: A larger study has been completed and the results of this will give
further details about persistence after infant vaccination. Further
follow up would be required to assess the persistence of vaccine
inured antibodies into adolescence and the potential role for a
teenage booster. It will be important to continue monitor for any
evidence of waning vaccine effectiveness. If vaccine is introduced
routinely into the UK, as recommended by the UK Joint Committee on
Vaccination and Immunization, this will provide a great deal of
important information on how the vaccine works in a real-world setting


McQuaid, M. D. Snape, T. M. John, S. Kelly, H. Robinson, L.-M. Yu, D. Toneatto, D. D’Agostino, P. M. Dull, A. J. Pollard. Persistence of specific bactericidal antibodies at 5 years of age after vaccination against serogroup B meningococcus in infancy and at 40 months. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2015; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.141200 Interview with: Dr Fiona McQuaid (2015). Pediatric Meningococcal Vaccine Immunity May Wane By Adolescence