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BACKGROUND: Pertussis can lead to serious disease and even death in infants. Older adults are more vulnerable to complications as well. In high-income countries, acellular pertussis vaccines are used for priming vaccination. In the administration of booster vaccinations to different age groups and target populations there is a substantial between-country variation. We investigated the effect of age on the response to acellular pertussis booster vaccination in three European countries. METHODS: This phase IV longitudinal intervention study performed in Finland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom between October 2017 and January 2019 compared the vaccine responses between healthy participants of four age groups: children (7-10y), adolescents (11-15y), young adults (20-34y), and older adults (60-70y). All participants received a three-component acellular pertussis vaccine. Serum IgG and IgA antibody concentrations to pertussis antigens at day 0, 28, and 1 year were measured with a multiplex immunoassay, using pertussis toxin concentrations at day 28 as primary outcome. This trial is registered with (2016-003,678-42). FINDINGS: Children (n = 109), adolescents (n = 121), young adults (n = 74), and older adults (n = 75) showed high IgG antibody concentrations to pertussis toxin at day 28 with GMCs of 147 (95% CI 120-181), 161 (95% CI 132-196), 103 (95% CI 80-133), and 121 IU/ml (95% CI 94-155), respectively. A significant increase in GMCs for vaccine antigens in all age groups by 28 days was found which had decreased by 1 year. Differences in patterns of IgG GMCs at 28 days and 1 year post-vaccination did not have a consistent relationship to age. In contrast, IgA antibodies for all antigens increased with age at all timepoints. INTERPRETATION: Acellular pertussis booster vaccination induces significant serum IgG responses to pertussis antigens across the age range which are not uniformly less in older adults. Acellular boosters could be considered for older adults to reduce the health and economic burden of pertussis.

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Adults, Children, IGG, IgA, Pertussis, Vaccination, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Antibodies, Bacterial, Antigens, Bacterial, Child, Female, Finland, Humans, Immunoglobulin A, Immunoglobulin G, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Netherlands, Pertussis Vaccine, United Kingdom, Vaccination, Whooping Cough, Young Adult