The Impact of the Microbiome on Immunity to Vaccination in Humans

Cell Host Microbe. 2020 Aug 12;28(2):169-179. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2020.06.014.


Vaccines are the most effective means available for preventing infectious diseases. However, vaccine-induced immune responses are highly variable between individuals and between populations in different regions of the world. Understanding the basis of this variation is, thus, of fundamental importance to human health. Although the factors that are associated with intra- and inter-population variation in vaccine responses are manifold, emerging evidence points to a key role for the gut microbiome in controlling immune responses to vaccination. Much of this evidence comes from studies in mice, and causal evidence for the impact of the microbiome on human immunity is sparse. However, recent studies on vaccination in subjects treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics have provided causal evidence and mechanistic insights into how the microbiota controls immune responses in humans.

Keywords: human immunology; microbiome; systems vaccinology; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mucous Membrane / microbiology
  • Probiotics / pharmacology
  • Vaccination*
  • Vaccines / immunology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Vaccines