In 2017, all South Australian schools were invited to be involved in a landmark study called “B Part of It.” The University of Adelaide led the B Part of It study, in partnership with SA Health. The B Part of It study is the world’s largest meningococcal B carriage study in adolescents and is an important piece of global immunisation research.
The study researchers’ aimed to find out whether there are herd immunity benefits from giving the meningococcal B vaccination to students in the South Australian school community. Herd immunity occurs when a significant proportion of the population is vaccinated against a disease, which then provides protection against transmission of that disease to those who are not vaccinated.
Almost all South Australian high schools joined the B Part of It study and contributed to this important piece of global research.
Whether you were a student, a parent, a guardian, a nurse, a teacher or a school principal involved in B Part of It, we thank you for being part of this important study. Together we were able to protect more than 30,000 students against meningococcal B disease and learn more about the important effects of herd immunity.
How it Worked
In 2017, Year 10, 11 and 12 students across the state were invited to participate in the study – if their school had signed up – and if the parents and the students provided consent. Schools were randomly allocated into two study groups (A and B). Between April and June 2017 students attending group A schools received a baseline throat swab and were offered 2 doses of the Men B vaccine in 2017. This group of students received a second swab between April and June 2018. Students attending group B schools received a baseline throat swab in 2017 and then received a follow up throat swab and 2 doses of Men B vaccine in 2018.
The objectives of the B Part of It study were to:
- Increase awareness of protection against meningococcal, in particular among young adults aged 15-24 years old.
- Determine the number of students carrying the bacteria and whether vaccinating a large population would infer herd immunity.
To the providers who undertook the school visits to protect and swab students; to the laboratory technicians analysing the throat swabs; to the teams cleaning the data to ascertain the results and to everyone who has been involved in the B Part of It study, we wish to acknowledge two years of dedication and effort resulting in the completion of the world’s biggest meningococcal B carriage study ever undertaken.
The magnitude of what was achieved is a testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of everyone involved. The two-year Meningococcal B Vaccine Herd Immunity Study, B Part of It, would not have been possible without the dedication and support of more than 80 immunisation providers and the many supporting stakeholders involved, including SA Health, SA Pathology, Local Government Association, Immunisation Providers, Country Health, Department of Education and Child Development, Association of Independent Schools of South Australia, Catholic Education South Australia, and Robinson Research Institute.