Antibody responses after first and second Covid-19 vaccination

B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is associated with immunosuppression and patients are at increased clinical risk following SARS-CoV-2 infection. Covid-19 vaccines offer the potential for protection against severe infection but relatively little is known regarding the profile of the antibody response following first or second vaccination. We studied spike-specific antibody responses following first and/or second Covid-19 vaccination in 299 patients with CLL compared with healthy donors. 286 patients underwent extended interval (10–12 week) vaccination. 154 patients received the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine and 145 patients received ChAdOx1. Blood samples were taken either by venepuncture or as dried blood spots on filter paper. Spike-specific antibody responses were detectable in 34% of patients with CLL after one vaccine (n = 267) compared to 94% in healthy donors with antibody titres 104-fold lower in the patient group.


Fig: Infographic of study design and collection: Samples were collected from patients who had undergone dual vaccination with either an ‘extended interval’ (n = 286) or ‘standard interval’ regimen (n = 13). Antibody levels in serum samples obtained by phlebotomy or in eluates from dried blood spot samples were assessed at the indicated timepoints.

Antibody responses increased to 75% after second vaccine (n = 55), compared to 100% in healthy donors, although titres remained lower. Multivariate analysis showed that current treatment with BTK inhibitors or IgA deficiency were independently associated with failure to generate an antibody response after the second vaccine. This work supports the need for optimisation of vaccination strategy in patients with CLL including the potential utility of booster vaccines.

Parry, H., McIlroy, G., Bruton, R. et al. Antibody responses after first and second Covid-19 vaccination in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Blood Cancer J. 11, 136 (2021).

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