Repeat pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine in Indigenous Australian adults is associated with decreased immune responsiveness

Volume 35, Issue 22, Pages 2871-3006 (19 May 2017)

Original papers
Repeat pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine in Indigenous Australian adults is associated with decreased immune responsiveness
Original Research Article
Pages 2908-2915
Sarah Moberley, Paul V. Licciardi, Anne Balloch, Ross Andrews, Amanda J. Leach, Marie Kirkwood, Paula Binks, Kim Mulholland, Jonathan Carapetis, Mimi L.K. Tang, Sue Skull
Indigenous adults residing in the Northern Territory of Australia experience elevated rates of invasive pneumococcal disease despite the routine use of 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23vPPV). We hypothesised that the limited protection from 23vPPV may be due to hyporesponsiveness as a result of vaccine failure from repeated vaccination. To explore this possibility, we evaluated the immune response to a first and second dose of 23vPPV in Indigenous adults and a first dose of 23vPPV in non-Indigenous adults.
Serotype-specific IgG was measured by ELISA for all 23 vaccine serotypes at baseline and at one month post-vaccination. Individuals were considered to have an adequate immune response if paired sera demonstrated either: a four-fold rise in antibody concentration; a two-fold rise if the post vaccination antibody was >1.3 μg/ml but 4.0 μg/ml for at least half of the serotypes tested (12/23). Our per-protocol analysis included the comparison of outcomes for three groups: Indigenous adults receiving a second 23vPPV dose (N=20) and Indigenous (N=60) and non-Indigenous adults (N=25) receiving their first 23vPPV dose.
All non-Indigenous adults receiving a first dose of 23vPPV mounted an adequate immune response (25/25). There was no significant difference in the proportion of individuals with an adequate response using our definition (primary endpoint), with 88% of Indigenous adults mounted an adequate response following first dose 23vPPV (53/60) compared to 70% having an adequate response following a second dose of 23vPPV (14/20; p=0.05). The risk difference between Indigenous participants receiving first dose compared to non-Indigenous participants receiving first dose was significant when comparing a response threshold of at least 70% (−27%, 95% CI: −43% to −11%; p=0.01) and 90% (−38%, 95% CI: −60% to −16%; p=0.006) of serotypes with a positive response.
Indigenous participants demonstrated a poorer response to a first dose 23vPPV compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts, with lower IgG following a second 23vPPV dose. These findings highlight the critical need to evaluate the efficacy of future pneumococcal vaccine programs in the Australian Indigenous populations that recommend repeated doses of 23vPPV.