Roughly half of U.S. adults do not receive recommended booster vaccinations, but protective antibody levels are rarely measured in adults. Demographic factors, vaccination history, and responses to other vaccinations could help identify at-risk individuals. We sought to characterize rates of seroconversion and determine associations of humoral responses to multiple vaccinations in healthy adults.
Humoral responses toward measles, mumps, tetanus toxoid, pertussis, hepatitis B surface antigen, and anthrax protective antigen were measured by ELISA in post-immunization samples from 1,465 healthy U.S. military members. We examined the effects of demographic and clinical factors on immunization responses, as well as assessed correlations between vaccination responses.
Subsets of boosted adults did not have seroprotective levels of antibodies toward measles (10.4%), mumps (9.4%), pertussis (4.7%), hepatitis B (8.6%) or protective antigen (14.4%) detected. Half-lives of antibody responses were generally long (>30 years). Measles and mumps antibody levels were correlated (r=0.31, p<0.001), but not associated with select demographic features or vaccination history. Measles and mumps antibody levels also correlated with tetanus antibody response (r=0.11, p<0.001).
Vaccination responses are predominantly robust and vaccine specific. However, a small but significant portion of the vaccinated adult population may not have quantitative seroprotective antibody to common vaccine-preventable infections.