Preventing meningitis in teenagers vaccinated against MenB as babies: is one booster dose enough?

Investigating whether a single dose of the MenB vaccine is enough to boost teenagers' immunity gained from infant MenB vaccination
Prof Andrew Pollard, Dr Christine Rollier, Dr Matthew Snape, Dr Christina Dold
Start Date
01 Jul 2017
University of Oxford, Oxford, UK


In September 2015 the MenB vaccine was introduced in the UK for routine use in babies - the age group at highest risk of developing meningitis and/or septicaemia. 

Beyond five years of age, teenagers are the age-group most affected by this deadly disease. Despite this, the MenB vaccine was not introduced for teenagers. One reason for this decision was cost. 

Current evidence suggests that teenagers not previously vaccinated against MenB would need two doses of the vaccine to be protected. But over time, thanks to the infant programme, most children will have been vaccinated as babies. It is possible that when these children become teenagers, just one dose of the 
MenB vaccine would boost immunity enough to ensure protection. 

This would greatly reduce the cost of a teenage MenB programme and provide the opportunity to re-evaluate its cost-effectiveness.

The babies involved in the first clinical trials of the MenB vaccine, led by Oxford Vaccine Group, are now approaching adolescence. This unique group of children offers the first opportunity to investigate whether a single dose of MenB vaccine could successfully boost infant immunity. 

About the project

In this study, researchers from Oxford Vaccine Group, will recruit children vaccinated in the original clinical trials. The team will also recruit children of the same age, who have not been vaccinated against MenB.

A blood sample will first be collected from each child to find out if those vaccinated against MenB as babies, have retained any protection. 

All children will then be vaccinated to enable the researchers to compare how the immune response differs between those who got the MenB vaccine in infancy and those who did not. 

What will this achieve?

This study will provide the first ever data on:

  • Whether children approaching adolescence retain any protection against MenB from their infant vaccines 
  • Whether a single dose of the MenB vaccine is enough to boost immunity gained from infant vaccination

Ultimately, the results from this study will help develop a strategy to protect teenagers against MenB.

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