BACKGROUND: The persistence of protection from meningococcal disease following immunization with serogroup C meningococcal (MenC) glycoconjugate vaccines in infancy is short-lived. The duration of protective immunity afforded by these vaccines in other at-risk age groups (i.e., adolescents and young adults) is not known. We evaluated the persistence of bactericidal antibodies following immunization with a MenC glycoconjugate vaccine (MenCV) in adolescents and the kinetics of immune response to a meningococcal AC plain polysaccharide vaccine (MenPS) challenge or a repeat dose of MenCV. METHODS: We conducted a randomized comparative trial of 274 healthy 13-15-year-olds from whom a total of 4 blood samples were obtained (prior to administration of a dose of MenPS or MenCV, again on 2 further occasions at varying times from days 2-7 after vaccination, and finally on day 28 after vaccination. The correlate of protection was a serum bactericidal assay titer > or = 8 (with a serum bactericidal assay using human complement). RESULTS: A serum bactericidal assay using human complement titer > or = 8 was observed in 75% of participants at baseline (mean age, 14.5 years; mean time since routine MenCV vaccination, 3.7 years). No increase in serum bactericidal assay geometric mean titers was detected until day 5 after administration of MenPS. Geometric mean titers following administration of MenCV were significantly higher than those observed following administration of MenPS, at days 5, 7, and 28. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed sustained levels of bactericidal antibodies for at least 3 years after immunization of adolescents with MenCV. After challenge of immunized adolescents with MenPS, there was no increase in serum bactericidal assay observed until day 5 after vaccination, indicating that immunological memory may be too slow to generate protection against this potentially rapidly invasive organism.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Infect Dis

Publication Date





1387 - 1394


Adolescent, Antibodies, Bacterial, Humans, Immunization, Secondary, Meningococcal Infections, Meningococcal Vaccines, Time Factors