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Biological sex influences antibody responses to routine vaccinations in the first year of life

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 10:35 authored by Zimmermann, P, Perrett, KP, Ritz, N, Katie FlanaganKatie Flanagan, Robins-Browne, R, van der Klis, FRM, Curtis, N, Abruzzo, V, Allen, K, Bonnici, R, Casalaz, D, Elborough, H, Freyne, B, Gardiner, K, Germano, S, Kollmann, T, Messina, N, Morrison, C, Nakaya, H, Ponsonby, AL, Shann, F, South, M, Vuillermin, P

Aim: We investigated the effect of early-life factors, namely sex, delivery mode, feeding method and antibiotic exposure, on antibody responses to routine vaccinations administered during the first year of life.

Methods: One and seven months after the primary course of routine vaccines and 1 month after routine vaccines at 12 months of age, antibodies against 26 vaccine antigens were measured in 398 healthy infants. The geometric mean concentration (GMC) of antibodies (adjusted for effect modifiers with multiple linear regression) and the seroprotection rate for each vaccine were compared for each early-life factor.

Results: Sex had an influence on GMCs. Antibody concentrations were significantly lower at 7 months of age in females for tetanus and filamentous haemagglutinin and at 13 months of age for pertactin. In contrast, at 13 months of age, antibody concentrations were significantly higher in females for polio type 3, pneumococcal serotype 6A and measles. Sex did not have an influence on seroprotection rates. Delivery mode, feeding method and antibiotic exposure did not exert a substantial influence on vaccine antibody concentrations.

Conclusion: There is a difference between males and females in the humoral response to routine vaccinations in the first year of life.


Publication title

Acta Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics








Tasmanian School of Medicine


Taylor & Francis As

Place of publication

Cort Adelersgt 17, Po Box 2562, Solli, Oslo, Norway, 0202

Rights statement

©2019 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Prevention of human diseases and conditions

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