Translation of therapeutic vaccines for addiction, cancer, or other chronic noncommunicable diseases has been slow because only a small subset of immunized subjects achieved effective Ab levels. We hypothesize that individual variability in the number of naive and early-activated hapten-specific B cells determines postvaccination serum Ab levels and vaccine efficacy. Using a model vaccine against the highly abused prescription opioid oxycodone, the polyclonal B cell population specific for an oxycodone-based hapten (6OXY) was analyzed by flow cytometry paired with Ag-based magnetic enrichment. A higher frequency of 6OXY-specific B cells in either spleen biopsies or blood, before and after immunization, correlated to subsequent greater oxycodone-specific serum Ab titers and their efficacy in blocking oxycodone distribution to the brain and oxycodone-induced behavior in mice. The magnitude of 6OXY-specific B cell activation and vaccine efficacy was tightly correlated to the size of the CD4+ T cell population. The frequency of enriched 6OXY-specific B cells was consistent across various mouse tissues. These data provide novel evidence that variations in the frequency of naive or early-activated vaccine-specific B and T cells can account for individual responses to vaccines and may predict the clinical efficacy of a therapeutic vaccine.