Immunogenicity and immunologic memory of meningococcal C conjugate vaccine in premature infants

Clare L. Collins, Jens U. Ruggeberg, Gail Balfour, Helen Tighe, Marion Archer, Jane Bowen-Morris, Linda Diggle, Ray Borrow, Paul Balmer, Jim P. Buttery, E. Richard Moxon, Andrew J. Pollard, Paul T. Heath*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Protein-polysaccharide conjugate vaccines against Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C were introduced into the U.K. routine immunization schedule in 1999. This study is the first to describe both persistence of antibody and evidence for induction of immune memory using meningococcal C conjugate (MCC) vaccine in preterm infants. Methods: Immunogenicity and induction of immunologic memory by as MCC vaccine was assessed in premature infants; 62 preterm and 60 term controls received MCC at the accelerated schedule (2, 3 and 4 months of age). A meningococcal C polysaccharide challenge was administered at 12 months of age. Results: Both groups achieved similar protective titers after primary immunization that then waned significantly by 1 year of age. Postchallenge serum bactericidal activity was significantly lower in preterm infants (P = 0.03); 73% of preterm versus 88% of term controls achieved a 4-fold rise in serum bactericidal activity (P = 0.07). Conclusions: MCC vaccine is immunogenic and primes for immunologic memory in preterm infants. The decreased memory responses in these preterm infants in conjunction with waning clinical efficacy data for all U.K. infants suggest a role for a routine booster dose of vaccine in all infants receiving MCC, especially those born preterm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)966-968
Number of pages3
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by a grant in aid from Wyeth Vaccines.


  • Meningococcal C conjugate vaccine
  • Preterm infant


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