Background: Antibody waning following influenza vaccination has been repeatedly evaluated, but waning has rarely been studied in the context of longitudinal vaccination history.
Methods: We developed a Bayesian hierarchical model to assess the effects of sequential influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccination on hemagglutination inhibition antibody boosting and waning in a longitudinal cohort of older children and adults from 2011 to 2016, a period during which the A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine strain did not change.
Results: Antibody measurements from 2057 serum specimens longitudinally collected from 388 individuals were included. Average postvaccination antibody titers were similar across successive vaccinations, but the rate of antibody waning increased with each vaccination. The antibody half-life was estimated to decrease from 32 months (95% credible interval [CrI], 22–61 months) following first vaccination to 9 months (95% CrI, 7–15 months) following a seventh vaccination.
Conclusions: Although the rate of antibody waning increased with successive vaccination, the estimated antibody half-life was longer than a typical influenza season even among the most highly vaccinated. This supports current recommendations for vaccination at the earliest opportunity. Patterns of boosting and waning might be different with the influenza A(H3N2) subtype, which evolves more rapidly and has been most associated with reduced effectiveness following repeat vaccination.