Protective immunity following vaccination: How is it defined?

Ian J. Amanna, Ilhem Messaoudi, Mark K. Slifka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    72 Scopus citations


    Vaccination represents an important medical breakthrough pioneered by Edward Jenner over 200 years ago when he developed the world's first vaccine against smallpox. To this day, vaccination remains the most effective means available for combating infectious disease. There are currently over 20 vaccines licensed for use within the US with many more vaccines in the R&D pipeline. Although vaccines must demonstrate clinical efficacy in order to receive FDA approval, the correlates of immunity vary remarkably between different vaccines and may be based primarily on animal studies, clinical evidence, or a combination of these sources of information. Correlates of protection are critical for measuring vaccine efficacy but researchers should know the history and limitations of these values. As vaccine technologies advance, the way in which we measure and define protective correlates may need to evolve as well. Here, we describe the correlates of protective immunity for vaccines against smallpox, tetanus, yellow fever and measles and compare these to a more recently introduced vaccine against varicella zoster virus, wherein a strict correlate of immunity has yet to be fully defined.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)316-319
    Number of pages4
    JournalHuman Vaccines
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 2008


    • Measles
    • Protective immunity
    • Smallpox
    • Tetanus
    • Varicella zoster virus
    • Yellow fever

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Immunology
    • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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