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The clinical development of the meningococcal vaccine, 4CMenB, included 2 doses in vaccine-naïve adolescents, which was considered unlikely to be cost-effective for implementation. Theoretically, priming with 4CMenB in early childhood might drive strong immune responses after only a single booster dose in adolescents and reduce programmatic costs. To address this question, children over 11 years old who took part in previous trials involving the administration of 3-5 doses of 4CMenB at infant/preschool age from 2006 were recruited into a post licensure single-centre trial, and were divided into two groups: those who received their last dose at 12 months old (infant group) and those who received their last dose at 3 years old (infant + preschool group). Naïve age-matched controls were randomised to receive one (adolescent 1 group) or two doses at days 0 and 28 (adolescent 2 group) of 4CMenB. Serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) assays using human complement were performed against three reference strains prior to vaccination, and at 1, 6 and 12 months. Previous vaccination was associated with a higher response to a single booster dose at 11 years of age, one-month post-vaccination, when compared with a single dose in naïve age-matched controls. At day 180, the highest responses were observed in participants in the infant + preschool group against strain 5/99 (GMT 316.1 [CI 158.4 to 630.8]), as compared with naïve adolescents who received two doses (GMTs 84.5 [CI 57.7 to 123.6]). When the last dose was received at 12-months of age, responses to a single adolescent dose were not as robust (GMT 61.1 [CI 14.8 to 252.4] to strain 5/99). This descriptive study indicates that the highest SBA responses after a single dose in adolescence were observed in participants who received a preschool dose, suggesting that B cell memory responses are not sufficiently primed at less than 12 months of age. Trial registration EudraCT 2017-004732-11, ISRCTN16774163.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





4453 - 4463


Adolescent, Boost, Clinical trial, Memory, Meningococcus, Persistence, Vaccine, Adolescent, Antibodies, Bacterial, Child, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Humans, Immunogenicity, Vaccine, Meningococcal Infections, Meningococcal Vaccines, Vaccination