Titres of haemagglutination-inhibiting antibody have been measured repeatedly in young women during a period of 6–8 years after the administration of RA27/3 and Cendehill attenuated rubella vaccines. Mean antibody titres were initially 217 after RA27/3 and 159 after Cendehill, but the difference diminished after the first year. Antibody titres were subsequently well maintained in both groups and did not reveal any need for regular revaccination. Mean titres in the Cendehill group were partly maintained by symptomless reinfection which was commoner after Cendehill than after RA27/3. Significant falls in titre were equally common after both vaccines, but low titres of 30 or less were more frequent in subjects who had received Cendehill.
Mean neutralizing antibody titres were initially 15·4 after RA27/3 vaccine and 9 after Cendehill. Titres remained higher after RA27/3 for 3 years, but the difference then diminished and became insignificant during the fifth year.
Revaccination of women with low antibody titres produced significant increases in 69% of subjects when standard RA27/3 vaccine was used; a special preparation of RA27/3 of higher potency produced a similar number of rises (70%) but elicited higher titres and might occasionally be useful for revaccinating women who are likely to come into contact with rubella. Challenge with RA27/3 vaccine produced weaker responses in women who had experienced natural infection than in those whose antibody was vaccine-induced.
Rises in antibody titre after revaccination consisted mainly of IgG, but traces of IgM antibody were detected in one vaccinee who had recently experienced natural reinfection and in 1 woman with naturally acquired antibody who had been challenged with high titre RA27/3 vaccine.
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