The meningitis B vaccine is given to babies aged 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 1 year as routine. It is supposed to fight against meningococcal group B bacteria, responsible for most meningococcal infections in children.
However, the vaccine may be more dangerous than the actual disease:
Fever warning over new meningitis jab
Parents whose babies will be vaccinated against meningitis are being urged to buy paracetamol to stave off a fever linked to the jab.
Babies will be given the new meningitis B vaccine from September 1 and more than half are likely to suffer a fever that can last a few days.
Experts said the fever shows the body is responding to the new vaccine, which is called Bexsero.
Under the current immunisation programme, around one quarter of infants are expected to develop a mild fever in the 48 hours after receiving their jabs. However, when the meningitis B vaccination is added, up to 60 per cent of infants are expected to develop such fever.
Source: The Telegraph, 28 August 2015.
Meningitis B Vaccine Loses Efficacy by 5 Years Even with Boosters
Persistence of specific bactericidal antibodies at 5 years of age after vaccination against serogroup B meningococcus in infancy and at 40 months
Background: The multicomponent serogroup B meningococcal (4CMenB) vaccine induces antibodies against indicator strains of serogroup B meningococcus under various schedules. We investigated the persistence of antibodies in 5-year-old children 18–20 months after their last dose (at about 3.5 years of age).
Methods: We assessed 5-year-old children who received the 4CMenB vaccine in a previous randomized trial. We also recruited 50 vaccinenaive 5-year-olds and administered 2 doses of 4CMenB to each child. We measured serum bactericidal antibody titres against 4 indicator strains of serogroup B meningococcus matched to each individual vaccine component and against 4 mismatched strains.
Results: Of those who received the 4CMenB vaccine at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 40 months (n = 16), the percentage with protective antibody titres (≥ 1:4) at 60 months ranged from 44% to 88% against matched strains and from 13% to 81% against mismatched strains. Loss of protective titres was also observed for those who received the 4CMenB vaccine at 12, 40 and 42 months (n = 5) (80%–100% against matched strains, 60%–100% against mismatched strains) or at 40 and 42 months (n = 29) (31%–100% against matched strains, 41%–81% against mismatched strains). Administering the 4CMenB vaccine to 5-year-old children yielded protective titres against matched strains in 92%–100% and against mismatched strains in 59%–100%. The majority of these children reported injectionsite pain (40/50 [80%] after dose 1, 39/46 [85%] after dose 2) and erythema (47/50 [94%] and 40/46 [87%], respectively); rates of fever were low (5/50 [10%] and 2/46 [4%], respectively).
Interpretation: Waning of immunity by 5 years of age occurred after receipt of the 4CMenB vaccine in infancy, even with an additional booster at 40 months. The 4CMenB vaccine is immunogenic and was fairly well tolerated by 5 year-old children, although injection-site pain was noteworthy. Trial registration: Clinical Trials.gov, no. NCT01027351
CMAJ March 23, 2015
Immunogenicity of a Meningococcal B Vaccine during a University Outbreak
In December 2013, a multicomponent meningococcal serogroup B (4CMenB) vaccine was used before licensure on the basis of special consideration by the Food and Drug Administration to respond to an outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis B at a U.S. university. Data suggested that vaccination would control the outbreak because isolates expressed antigens that were closely related to the vaccine antigens (factor H–binding protein [fHbp] and neisserial heparin-binding antigen). We quantified the immune responses induced by 4CMenB during the outbreak.
We conducted a seroprevalence survey among students to assess vaccination status and collect serum specimens to quantify titers of serum bactericidal antibodies (SBA) with an assay that included human complement (hSBA). We compared the proportion of vaccinated and unvaccinated participants who were seropositive for the outbreak strain and for one closely related reference strain (44/76-SL, which included fHbp) and one mismatched reference strain (5/99, which included neisserial adhesin A), both of which were used in vaccine development. Seropositivity was defined as an hSBA titer of 4 or higher.
Among the 499 participants who received two doses of the 4CMenB vaccine 10 weeks apart, 66.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 61.8 to 70.3) were seropositive for the outbreak strain, although the geometric mean titer was low at 7.6 (95% CI, 6.7 to 8.5). Among a random subgroup of 61 vaccinees who also received two doses but did not have a detectable protective response to the outbreak strain, 86.9% (95% CI, 75.8 to 94.2) were seropositive for the 44/76-SL strain, for which there was a geometric mean titer of 17.4 (95% CI, 13.0 to 23.2), whereas 100% of these vaccinees (95% CI, 94.1 to 100) were seropositive for the 5/99 strain and had a higher geometric mean titer (256.3; 95% CI, 187.3 to 350.7). The response to the outbreak strain was moderately correlated with the response to the 44/76-SL strain (Pearson’s correlation,0.64; P<0.001) but not with the response to the 5/99 strain (Pearson’s correlation,−0.06; P=0.43).
Eight weeks after the second dose of the 4CMenB vaccine was administered, there was no evidence of an hSBA response against the outbreak strain in 33.9% of vaccinees, although no cases of meningococcal disease caused by N. meningitidis B were reported among vaccinated students. (Funded by Princeton University and others.)
Source: N Engl J Med 2016; 375:220-228.