Meningitis B vaccine study raises questions about vaccine response in recent New Jersey university outbreak

new study from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health found that only 66 percent of college students who received the recommended two doses of the meningococcal group B vaccine Bexsero® (4CMenB) had evidence of a detectable immune response against an outbreak strain.

The study was conducted during an ongoing outbreak at a New Jersey university in 2014. While no cases of meningitis B were reported among the vaccinated students during the outbreak and all vaccines had evidence they had developed some immunity, the findings suggest the meningitis B vaccine may have limited impact on certain strains.

“Epidemiologists play a critical role in evaluating the impact of vaccines,” said Nicole Basta, Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “Conducting studies of novel vaccines allows us to go beyond clinical trials and investigate critical questions about how broadly protective new vaccines are. This was a rare opportunity to investigate the immune response to the vaccine during an ongoing outbreak.”

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