Background: Recombinant protein-based vaccines targeting serogroup B meningococci protect against invasive disease but impacts on carriage are uncertain. This study assessed carriage prevalence of disease-associated meningococci in 2018-2020 as the proportion of vaccinated adolescents increased following introduction of a school-based 4CMenB immunization program.
Methods: Eligible participants who completed high school (aged 17-25) in South Australia in the previous year had an oropharyngeal swab taken and completed a risk factor questionnaire. Disease-associated meningococci (genogroups A, B, C, W, X, Y) were detected by meningococcal and genogroup-specific polymerase chain reaction.
Results: The analysis included 4104 participants in 2018, 2690 in 2019, and 1338 in 2020. The proportion vaccinated with 4CMenB increased from 43% in 2018, to 78% in 2019, and 76% in 2020. Carriage prevalence of disease-associated meningococci in 2018 was 225/4104 (5.5%). There was little difference between carriage prevalence in 2019 (134/2690, 5.0%; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.82; 95% confidence interval [CI], .64-1.05) and 2020 (68/1338, 5.1%; aOR, 0.82; 95% CI, .57-1.17) compared to 2018.
Conclusions: Increased 4CMenB uptake in adolescents was not associated with decline in carriage of disease-associated meningococci. 4CMenB immunization programs should focus on direct (individual) protection for groups at greatest risk of disease.
Clinical trials registration: NCT03419533.
Keywords: Neisseria meningitidis; 4CMenB; carriage; herd protection; meningococcal.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, e-mail: email@example.com.