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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 from 2018-2020, as the proportion of vaccinated adolescents increased following introduction of a school-based 4CMenB immunisation program. METHODS: Eligible participants who completed high school (age 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 final 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 the carriage prevalence in 2019 (134/2690, 5.0%, adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.82, 95% CI 0.64-1.05) and 2020 (68/1338, 5.1% aOR 0.82, 95% CI 0.57-1.17) compared to 2018. CONCLUSIONS: Increased 4CMenB uptake in adolescents was not associated with a decline in carriage of disease-associated meningococci. 4CMenB immunisation programs should focus on direct (individual) protection for groups at greatest risk of disease.

Original publication




Journal article


J Infect Dis

Publication Date



4CMenB, Neisseria meningitidis, carriage, herd protection, meningococcal