Open Access Debate

Is a single dose of meningococcal serogroup C conjugate vaccine sufficient for protection? experience from the Netherlands

Patricia Kaaijk14*, Arie van der Ende2, Guy Berbers3, Germie PJM van den Dobbelsteen1 and Nynke Y Rots1

Author Affiliations

1 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for infectious Diseases Control Netherlands, Section Vaccinology, Bilthoven, the Netherlands

2 Academic Medical Centre (AMC), Department of medical Microbiology and the Netherlands Reference Laboratory for Bacterial Meningitis, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

3 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for infectious Diseases Control Netherlands, Laboratorium for Infectious Diseases and Screening, Bilthoven, the Netherlands

4 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for infectious Diseases Control Netherlands, Section Vaccinology, Building A9, Mailbox 41, PO Box 1, 3720, BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:35  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-35

Published: 8 February 2012

Abstract

Background

The first meningococcal serogroup C (MenC) conjugate vaccine was licensed in 1999 and introduced in the United Kingdom. Countries that have implemented the MenC vaccine since then in their national immunisation programmes use different schedules. Nevertheless, all involved countries seem to experience substantial declines in the incidence of MenC disease.

Discussion

Since 2001, the MenC conjugate vaccine has been implemented in the Netherlands by offering a single dose to all children aged 14 months. Prior to the introduction of the vaccine into the national immunisation programme, a catch-up vaccination campaign was initiated in which a single dose of the MenC conjugate vaccine was offered to all children aged from 14 months up to and including 18 years. Since then, there has been no report of any case of MenC disease among immunocompetent vaccinees. Administration of a single dose of MenC conjugate vaccine after infancy could be beneficial considering the already complex immunisation schedules with large numbers of vaccinations in the first year of life. The present paper deals with the advantages and critical aspects of a single dose of the MenC conjugate vaccine.

Summary

A single dose of MenC conjugate vaccine at the age of 14 months in combination with a catch up vaccine campaign appeared to be a successful strategy to prevent MenC disease in the Netherlands, thereby confirming that a single dose of the vaccine could sufficiently protect against disease. Nevertheless, this approach can only be justified in countries with a relatively low incidence of serogroup C meningococcal disease in the first year of life. Furthermore, a good surveillance programme is recommended for timely detection of vaccine breakthroughs and outbreaks among non-vaccinees, since long-term protection after a single dose in the second year of life cannot currently be guaranteed.