Chronic renal failure is associated with a T-cell-dependent immune defect. In the past, various studies have focused on the insufficient immune response to vaccination of hemodialysis patients. An impaired vaccination response rate has been reported for vaccines against hepatitis B, influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, and others. However, no data exist on the long-term success of vaccination against tetanus and diphtheria in these patients. The aim of the present study is to investigate seroresponse to tetanus and diphtheria vaccination over a 5-year period. Antibody levels were determined by enzyme immunoassay. Antidiphtheria antibody levels of 31 hemodialysis patients were determined 5 years after vaccination. After 5 years, 10 of 31 patients (32%) had a protective antibody level against diphtheria (>/=0.1 IU/mL), whereas 12 months after vaccination, 26 of 71 patients (37%) were protected. Also, mean antibody levels significantly decreased. Furthermore, antitetanus antibody levels of 21 patients simultaneously vaccinated against tetanus and diphtheria were investigated. After 5 years, 15 of 21 patients (71%) were protected compared with 46 of 71 patients (65%) in the hemodialysis collective studied after 12 months. In the interval between 1 and 5 years after vaccination, significantly more patients in the initial nonresponder group had died than in the responder group; therefore, the overall protection rate observed in vaccinated patients increased. Our results provide evidence that during a 5-year period, antibody persistence against tetanus toxoid is better than that against diphtheria toxoid. Therefore, detection of individual antibody concentrations may be indicated to decide on revaccination.