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.
Clin Microbiol Infect