Meningococcal B 4CMenB Vaccine Reduces Group B Meningococcal Disease in Adolescents

Investigators conducted a study, reporting the effects of the 4CMenB meningococcal against serogroup B IMD in adolescents with moderate to high vaccine uptake.

Vaccination with meningococcal B 4CMenB vaccine is linked to a reduction in group B meningococcal disease among adolescents in South Australia, according to research published in Clinical Infectious Disease.

In Australia, the second highest peak of incidence of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) occurs in adolescents and young adults (following incidence in infants). A team of investigators conducted an observational time series study, reporting the effects of the 4CMenB meningococcal against serogroup B IMD in adolescents with moderate to high vaccine uptake ( NCT03089086). The trial compared 14 years before the start of the trial (2003-2016) with the 2 years following 4CMenB vaccination in 2017.

The study enrolled 34,489 students (mean age, 16 years) from 237 high schools in South Australia. For students in senior school years 10 and 11, the primary analysis participation rate was 62%. From 2017 to 2018, the number of year 10, 11, and 12 students who received at least 1 dose of vaccine increased from 53% to 88%, respectively.

Between 2003 and 2016, the number of cases of serogroup B IMD among adolescents aged between 16 and 19 years varied from 1 to 10 cases per year, peaking in 2015; the case average increased by 10% each year following (P <.001).

Following the trial commencement, the number of serogroup B IMD cases dropped from 5 cases in 2017 to 2018 to 1 in 2018 to 2019 in the same age group (relative reduction, 71%; P =.02). In addition, there were nearly 15 fewer serogroup B IMD cases in the post-vaccination period compared with the number of predicted cases.

Study results suggested that there have been no cases to date of IMD among 4CMenB-vaccinated adolescents and that vaccine effectiveness is 100%.

There were 10 cases of serogroup B IMD in children aged 0 to 4 years in 2017 to 2018 and 8 cases in 2018 to 2019; both of these values were greater than predicted but still fell within the 95% prediction intervals for the 2 years.  

“Since this study was completed, the South Australian Government has announced a funded 4CMenB immunization program to provide direct protection for infants, children (1-3 years), adolescents and young people who are residents of South Australia,” the investigators wrote.

“In South Australia, 4CMenB immunization programs for children and adolescents based on direct protection for higher risk age groups are continuing,” the study authors concluded.

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


McMillan M, Wang B, Koehler AP, Sullivan TR, Marshall HS. Impact of meningococcal B vaccine on invasive meningococcal disease in adolescents. Clin Infect Dis. Published online February 15, 2021. doi:10.1093/cid.ciaa1636