Newborns and infants up to the age of 1.5-2 years of age are unable to produce antibodies to bacterial capsular polysaccharides. As a consequence, children up to the age of 2 years have an increased susceptibility for infections with encapsulated bacteria. Capsular polysaccharides are classified as so-called T cell independent type 2 antigens and induce IgG2 antibodies. The mechanism of B lymphocyte activation by polysaccharides differs from that of protein antigens and involves co-stimulation by CD21 (type 2 complement receptor). Reduced expression of CD21 on neonatal B lymphocytes can explain unresponsiveness to polysaccharides. Polysaccharide protein conjugates have the ability to overcome unresponsiveness to polysaccharides early in life. The response induced is predominant IgGl.