High non-responsiveness of males and the elderly to standard hepatitis B vaccination among a large cohort of healthy employees

Angelique P. A. Vermeiren*, Christian J. P. A. Hoebe, Nicole H. T. M. Dukers-Muijrers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Hepatitis B virus infection is a major health problem. Although non-response is known to increase with age, hepatitis B vaccinations are considered to have only minor non-response rates (anti-HBs <10 IU/L) in healthy subjects. Objectives: The aim of this study was to quantify immunosenescence in a large retrospective cohort of 11,439 healthy adults who received HBV immunisation according to the standard vaccination regime. Study design: We evaluated the response to the standard three-dose vaccination regimen, consisting of 20-mu g doses of the HbsAg recombinant DNA hepatitis B vaccine, among 11,439 healthy employees using a retrospective cohort design. Logistic regression was applied to predict the non-response rate, and multivariate regression analysis was applied to predict antibody response. Predictors of responsiveness included sex, age and time between the last vaccination and antibody titre measurement. Results: From the age of 29 on in men and 43 on in women, more than 5% of subjects did not respond. Compared with women, men had a higher risk of non-response and exhibited a steeper decline in antibody titres produced with increasing age. Conclusions: This retrospective cohort study demonstrates that immunosenescence starts at young age, especially among men, underlining the importance of vaccination at a young age to achieve long-lasting immunity. Moreover, HBV vaccination should always include testing for antibodies to facilitate the performance of necessary interventions to prevent long-term fatal complications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-264
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • Hepatitis B vaccination
  • Ageing
  • Immunosenescence
  • Immune response


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