Impact of meningococcal ACWY conjugate vaccines on pharyngeal carriage in adolescents: evidence for herd protection from the UK MenACWY programme.
Carr JP., MacLennan JM., Plested E., Bratcher HB., Harrison OB., Aley PK., Bray JE., Camara S., Rodrigues CMC., Davis K., Bartolf A., Baxter D., Cameron JC., Cunningham R., Faust SN., Fidler K., Gowda R., Heath PT., Hughes S., Khajuria S., Orr D., Raman M., Smith A., Turner DP., Whittaker E., Williams CJ., Zipitis CS., Pollard AJ., Oliver J., Morales-Aza B., Lekshmi A., Clark SA., Borrow R., Christensen H., Trotter C., Finn A., Maiden MCJ., Snape MD., UKMenCar4 and ‘Be on the TEAM’ Study Collaborators None.
OBJECTIVES: Serogroup W and Y invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) increased globally from 2000 onwards. Responding to a rapid increase in serogroup W clonal complex 11 (W:cc11) IMD, the UK replaced an adolescent booster dose of meningococcal C conjugate vaccine with quadrivalent MenACWY conjugate vaccine in 2015. By 2018, vaccine coverage in the eligible school cohorts aged 14-19 years-old was 84%. We assessed the impact of the MenACWY vaccination programme on meningococcal carriage. METHODS: An observational study of culture-defined oropharyngeal meningococcal carriage prevalence before and after the start of the MenACWY vaccination programme in UK school students, aged 15-19 years, using two cross-sectional studies: 2014-15 "UKMenCar4" and 2018 "Be on the TEAM" (ISRCTN75858406). RESULTS: A total of 10625 participants pre-implementation and 13434 post-implementation were included. Carriage of genogroups C, W, and Y (combined) decreased from 2·03% to 0·71% (OR 0·34 [95% CI 0·27-0·44] p<0·001). Carriage of genogroup B meningococci did not change (1·26% vs 1·23% [95% CI 0.77-1.22] p=0·80) and genogroup C remained rare (n = 7/10625 vs 17/13488, p=0·135). The proportion of serogroup positive isolates, i.e., those expressing capsule, decreased for genogroup W by 53.8% (95% CI -5.0%-79.8%, p=0·016) and for genogroup Y by 30·1% (95% CI 8·9%-46·3%, p=0·0025). CONCLUSIONS: The UK MenACWY vaccination programme reduced carriage acquisition of genogroup and serogroup Y and W meningococci and sustained low levels of genogroup C carriage. These data support the use of quadrivalent MenACWY conjugate vaccine for indirect (herd) protection.