100 infants born at 31 weeks gestation or less will be immunised with a combined three component acellular pertussis-HIB vaccine at the same time as a meningitis C conjugate vaccine at 2, 3 and 4 months of age. They will be recruited from the neonatal units of the 5 participating hospitals: Portsmouth, Winchester, Southampton, Basingstoke, and Poole. Antibody titres to vaccine antigens will be determined just prior to the first immunisation and 4 weeks after the last.
Where immune response is inadequate to either Hib or men C a booster dose will be offered. Where this occurs, post booster sera will be assayed for antibodies to meningo C or Hib as appropriate, including measurement of antibody avidity to confirm induction of immunological memory.
All vaccine antibody levels will be analysed by laboratories participating in the National Vaccine Evaluation Consortium co-ordinated by the Public Health Laboratory Service, London.
Results will be analysed according to the infant's gestation, birth weight and use of dexamethasone at any time. Results will be directly comparable to previous studies performed by the senior applicant in term infants for both Hib and men C.
Read our news release on this project:
Meningitis research into vaccination of babies
Results from this study have been published in scientific journals as follows:
Slack MH, Schapira D, Thwaites RJ, Burrage M, Southern J, Andrews N, Borrow R, Goldblatt D, Miller E.
Immune response of premature infants to meningococcal serogroup C and combined diphtheria-tetanus toxoids-acellular pertussis-Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccines.
J Infect Dis 2001 Dec 15;184(12):1617-20. Epub 2001 Dec 3. http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JID/journal/issues/v184n12/010778/010778.web.pdf
Slack MH, Schapira D, Thwaites RJ, Schapira C, Bamber J, Burrage M, Southern J, Andrews N, Miller E.
Acellular pertussis vaccine given by accelerated schedule: response of preterm infants.
Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2004 Jan;89(1):F57-60.
Slack MH, Schapira D, Thwaites RJ, Burrage M, Southern J, Goldblatt D, Miller E.
Responses to a fourth dose of Haemophilus influenzae type B conjugate vaccine in early life.
Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed