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Effects on the anti-ABO titers of military blood donors from a predeployment vaccination program

Berséus, Olle MD, PhD

Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: June 2017 - Volume 82 - Issue 6S - p S91–S95
doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000001420
Original Article

BACKGROUND: The use of blood group O as “universal blood” for emergency whole blood transfusions carries the risk for a hemolytic transfusion reaction mediated by incompatible A/B antibodies. This risk can be minimized by assuring that the donor has a low titer of anti-A and anti-B. The level of these naturally occurring antibodies has been shown to be increased by vaccination with most biologically derived vaccines. This boostering effect has been investigated for the new generation of vaccines.

METHODS: The 120 crew members of a Swedish naval ship deployed for 7 months to the Indian Ocean were tested for anti-A and anti-B before their predeployment vaccination program and after returning to Sweden. The vaccination program contained vaccines against cholera, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, influenza, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, TBE virus, tetanus, typhus and yellow fever. Paired antibody titrations were performed for both IgM and IgG using microtube gelcards (Diamed GMBH).

RESULTS: No crew member, including the six belonging to the “high titer” group, showed a sign of a booster effect by any of the used vaccines.

CONCLUSION: The earlier reported boostering effects mediated by different vaccines cannot be replicated with the new vaccines of today. This is probably a result of the new manufacturing techniques resulting in much purer vaccines.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic/care management study, level II.

From the Department for Transfusion Medicine (O.B.), Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden.

Submitted: October 20, 2016, Revised: November 28, 2016, Accepted: November 29, 2016, Published online: March 15, 2017.

Presented at the 6th annual Remote Damage Control Resuscitation Symposium of the Trauma Hemostasis and Oxygenation Research Network, June 20–22, 2016, in Os, Norway.

Address for reprints: Olle Berséus, MD, PhD, Department for Transfusion Medicine, Örebro University Hospital, Örtenlundsvägen 7, 02 30 Örebro, Sweden; email:

© 2017 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.