Background: In September 2015, the United Kingdom introduced the multicomponent meningococcal group B vaccine (4CMenB, Bexsero) into its publicly funded national immunization program at a reduced two-dose priming schedule for infants, with a 12-month booster.
Methods: Using data from enhanced national surveillance of invasive meningococcal disease in England, we evaluated the effect of vaccination on the incidence of meningococcal group B disease during the first 3 years of the program. The effect of vaccination was assessed by comparing the observed incidence of disease with the expected incidence based on the incidence during the 4-year prevaccination period in equivalent cohorts and with the use of disease trends in cohorts of children younger than 5 years of age who were not eligible to receive the vaccine. Vaccine effectiveness was estimated with the use of the indirect screening method.
Results: 4CMenB uptake in England remained consistently high; data from the first 3 months of 2018 showed that 92.5% of children had completed the primary immunizations by their first birthday and 87.9% had received all three doses by 2 years. From September 2015 through August 2018, the incidence of meningococcal group B disease in England (average annual birth cohort, approximately 650,000 infants) was significantly lower in vaccine-eligible cohorts than the expected incidence (63 observed cases as compared with 253 expected cases; incidence rate ratio, 0.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.19 to 0.36), with a 75% reduction in age groups that were fully eligible for vaccination. The adjusted vaccine effectiveness against meningococcal group B disease was 52.7% (95% CI, -33.5 to 83.2) with a two-dose priming schedule for infants and 59.1% (95% CI, -31.1 to 87.2) with a two-dose priming schedule plus a booster at 1 year). Over the 3-year period, there were 169 cases of meningococcal group B disease in the vaccine-eligible cohorts, and an estimated 277 cases (95% CI, 236 to 323) were prevented.
Conclusions: The 4CMenB program was associated with continued positive effect against meningococcal group B disease in children in England, and protection after three doses of the vaccine was sustained for at least 2 years. (Funded by Public Health England.).
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