Objectives: We aimed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of a diphtheria/tetanus vaccine booster dose in three different patient groups with rheumatic diseases on a variety of immunosuppressive/immunomodulatory medications compared with healthy controls (HCs).
Methods: We conducted a multi-centre prospective cohort study in Switzerland. We enrolled patients with RA, axial SpA/PsA, vasculitis (Behçet's disease, ANCA-associated vasculitis) and HCs. Diphtheria/tetanus vaccination was administered according to the Swiss vaccination recommendations. Blood samples were drawn before vaccination, and 1 month and 3 months afterwards. Antibody concentrations against vaccine antigens were measured by ELISA. Immunogenicity was compared between patient and medication groups. A mixed model was applied for multivariate analysis. Missing data were dealt with using multiple imputation.
Results: Between January 2014 and December 2015, we enrolled 284 patients with rheumatic diseases (131 RA, 114 SpA/PsA, 39 vasculitis) and 253 HCs. Of the patients, 89% were on immunosuppressive/immunomodulatory medication. Three months post-vaccination 100% of HCs vs 98% of patients were protected against tetanus and 84% vs 73% against diphtheria. HCs and SpA/PsA patients had significantly higher responses than RA and vasculitis patients. Assessing underlying diseases and medications in a multivariate model, rituximab was the only factor negatively influencing tetanus immunogenicity, whereas only MTX treatment had a negative influence on diphtheria antibody responses. No vaccine-related serious adverse events were recorded.
Conclusion: Diphtheria/tetanus booster vaccination was safe. Tetanus vaccination was immunogenic; the diphtheria component was less immunogenic. Vaccine responses were blunted by rituximab and MTX.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, http://clinicaltrials.gov, Identifier: NCT01947465.
Keywords: diphtheria vaccination; immunogenicity; immunosuppression; rheumatic disease; safety; tetanus vaccination.
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