Host and bacterial factors were evaluated among 86 Minnesota children with Haemophilus influenzae type b disease detected by active surveillance after introduction of type b polysaccharide vaccine in the state. Children were 2-6 y of age. Thirty-three (38%) had been vaccinated. There was no significant difference between the frequency of low serum concentrations of IgM, IgA, IgG, or IgG2 in the vaccinated and nonvaccinated subjects (13% vs. 8%, P =.5). The presence of the Gm immunoglobulin allotype phenotype (1, 3, 17;23;5, 13, 21), previously associated with a lower relative risk of vaccine failure in children from other states, was associated with a fourfold decrease in the relative risk of vaccine failure in Minnesota (P <.07). Haemophilus isolates from 58 of the children were available for clonal characterization by multilocus electrophoresis and outer membrane protein subtyping. There were no significant differences between the clone distribution of the strains causing disease in vaccinated and nonvaccinated patients, and nearly all disease-producing clones in Minnesota also are known to cause disease in other areas of the country. Thus, vaccine failure in Minnesota is infrequently associated with hypogammaglobulinemia or with infection by unusual clones of a H. influenzae type b. Also, the Gm phenotype associated with protection against vaccine failure in other areas of the USA appears to be protective in Minnesota. © 1989 by The University of Chicago. All Rights Reserved.