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The objectives of this study were to evaluate the kinetics of antibody decline through childhood in a longitudinal study of a single cohort following serogroup C meningococcal (MenC) vaccine immunization in early childhood and to calculate the proportion of 11 to 13 year olds with protective levels of bactericidal antibody 10 years after immunization. United Kingdom children aged 11 to 13 years in 2010 who had previously taken part in a longitudinal study at the Oxford Vaccine Group had blood samples drawn between 2001 and 2010. Sera from each time point were analyzed for the MenC serum bactericidal antibody titer using a baby rabbit complement (rSBA) assay. The median age at MenC immunization was 21 months (range, 1 year 3 months to 3 years 9 months). The MenC rSBA geometric mean titer (GMT) at age 3.5 to 5 years was 8.0 (95% confidence interval, 6.5 to 9.9; n = 287). By age 11.5 to 13.5 years, the rSBA GMT had declined to 3.3 (2.5 to 4.4; n = 98). The percentage of children with rSBA titers of ≥1:8 (the threshold for protection) also declined from 38% (35% to 41%) to 15% (12% to 19%). We concluded that MenC rSBA titers wane rapidly following vaccination in early childhood and continue to decline into the second decade of life. Since nasopharyngeal colonization in adolescents probably provides the major reservoir for MenC in the population, declining immunity in this cohort is of concern. Sustaining high levels of antibody through booster vaccination in this cohort is likely necessary to avoid a resurgence of disease in the decade ahead.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Vaccine Immunol

Publication Date





2038 - 2042


Animals, Antibodies, Bacterial, Blood Bactericidal Activity, Complement System Proteins, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Meningococcal Vaccines, Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup C, Rabbits, Time Factors, United Kingdom, Vaccination