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In Japan, healthcare workers (HCWs) are vaccinated against measles, rubella, chickenpox, mumps, and hepatitis B to prevent nosocomial infection; however, some do not produce sufficient antibodies ("suboptimal responders"). This study compared immune responses to a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 mRNA) vaccine among HCWs with normal and suboptimal responses to conventional vaccines. In this prospective cohort study, 50 HCWs received two doses of BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine 3 weeks apart. SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike antibodies were measured 11 times, starting before the first vaccination and ending 5 months after the second vaccination. Antibody titers of four suboptimal and 46 normal responders were compared. SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody activity was measured twice in suboptimal responders, 1 week/1 month and 5 months after the second vaccination. The SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike antibody was detectable in the samples from suboptimal and normal responders at each timepoint after vaccination. Suboptimal responders exhibited SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody activity 1 week/1 month as well as 5 months after the second vaccination; however, activity was slightly reduced at 5 months. Our findings show that suboptimal responders do acquire adequate SARS-CoV-2 anti-spike and SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies from vaccination to prevent SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines should thus be recommended for both normal and suboptimal responders to conventional vaccines.


Wataru Ogura, Kouki Ohtsuka, Sachiko Matsuura, Takahiro Okuyama, Satsuki Matsushima, Satoko Yamasaki, Hiroyuki Miyagi, Kumiko Sekiguchi, Hiroaki Ohnishi, Takashi Watanabe. Can Individuals with Suboptimal Antibody Responses to Conventional Antiviral Vaccines Acquire Adequate Antibodies from SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccination? Viruses. 2022 May 03;14(5)

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PMID: 35632698

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