Sex differences in the vaccine-specific and non-targeted effects of vaccines

Flanagan, KL; Klein, SL; Skakkebaek, NE; Marriott, I; Marchant, A; Selin, L; Fish, EN; Prentice, AM; Whittle, H; Benn, CS; Aaby, P; (2011) Sex differences in the vaccine-specific and non-targeted effects of vaccines. Vaccine, 29 (13). pp. 2349-2354. ISSN 0264-410X DOI:

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Vaccines have non-specific effects (NSE) on subsequent morbidity and mortality from non-vaccine related infectious diseases. Thus NSE refers to any effect that cannot be accounted for by the induction of immunity against the vaccine-targeted disease. These effects are sex-differential, generally being more pronounced in females than males. Furthermore, the NSE are substantial causing greater than fifty percent changes in all cause mortality in certain settings, yet have never been systematically tested despite the fact that millions of children receive vaccines each year. As we strive to eliminate infectious diseases through vaccination programmes, the relative impact of NSE of vaccines on mortality is likely to increase, raising important questions regarding the future of certain vaccine schedules. A diverse group of scientists met in Copenhagen to discuss non-specific and sex-differential effects of vaccination, and explore plausible biological explanations. Herein we describe the contents of the meeting and the establishment of the 'Optimmunize' network aimed at raising awareness of this important issue among the wider scientific community.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Vaccines, Non-specific effects, Non-targeted effects, Sex differences, Innate immunity, Adaptive immunity, Sex hormones, X-linked genes, Vitamin A, Reactogenicity, Heterologous immunity, FEMALE-MALE MORTALITY, DIPHTHERIA-TETANUS-PERTUSSIS, TITER, MEASLES-VACCINE, INNATE IMMUNITY, GUINEA-BISSAU, ROUTINE VACCINATIONS, HETEROLOGOUS IMMUNITY, CHILDHOOD MORTALITY, CYTOKINE PRODUCTION, GUERIN, VACCINATION
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Research (2003-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Research Centre: Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 21300095
Web of Science ID: 289140500001


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