(1) Background: The influenza virus continues to cause significant annual morbidity and mortality. The overall efficacy of seasonal influenza vaccination is suboptimal, which is partly due to host immune factors. The effects of imprinting and repeated seasonal influenza vaccination were investigated to assess for immune factors and mechanisms that impact influenza vaccine responses. (2) Methods: Twenty participants were enrolled into a prospective pilot study based on birth cohort and seasonal influenza immunization history. Immunologic parameters were assessed over a six-month period after the seasonal influenza vaccine was administered. (3) Results: There was no significant imprinting effect, as measured by hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) fold change, HAI geometric mean titer (GMT) for Day 29 or Day 180 post-vaccination and antigen- specific antibody-secreting cells (ASC) for Day 8 post-vaccination. Individuals who had minimal prior seasonal influenza vaccination had a higher magnitude ASC response and a higher HAI fold change post-vaccination than individuals who were repeatedly vaccinated. (4) Conclusions: Repeated seasonal influenza vaccination resulted in a decreased fold change of the immune response, although individuals in this cohort tended to have high HAI titers at baseline that persisted after vaccination. Imprinting effects were not observed in this cohort. These host immune factors should be considered in the development of universal influenza vaccines. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03686514.
Keywords: adaptive immunology; birth cohort; imprinting; influenza; repeated vaccination.