Renal transplant recipients (RTR) are considered at high risk for influenza-associated complications due to immunosuppression. The efficacy of standard influenza vaccination in RTRs is unclear. Hence, we evaluated activation of the adaptive immunity by the pandemic influenza A(H1N1) 2009 (A(H1N1)pdm09) vaccine in RTRs as compared to healthy controls. To determine cross-reactivity and/or bystander activation, seasonal trivalent influenza vaccine and tetanus/diphteria toxoid (TT/DT) vaccine-specific T cells along with allospecific T cells were quantified before and after A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccination. Vaccination-induced alloimmunity was additionally determined by quantifying serum creatinine and proinflammatory protein IP-10. Contrary to healthy controls, RTRs required a booster vaccination to achieve seroconversion (13.3 % day 21; 90 % day 90). In contrast to humoral immunity, sufficient A(H1N1)pdm09-specific T-cell responses were mounted in RTRs already after the first immunization with a magnitude comparable with healthy controls. Interestingly, vaccination simultaneously boosted T cells reacting to seasonal flu but not to TT/DT, suggesting cross-activation. No alloimmune effects were recorded. In conclusion, protective antibody responses required booster vaccination. However, sufficient cellular immunity is established already after the first vaccination, demonstrating differential kinetics of humoral and cellular immunity.