Seasonal influenza immunisation: Strategies for older adults

William Schaffner, Paul van Buynder, Shelly McNeil, Albert D M E Osterhaus
International Journal of Clinical Practice 2018, 72 (10): e13249
Adults over the age of 60-65 years suffer disproportionally from seasonal influenza, experiencing high rates of complications, exacerbation of underlying medical comorbidities, and excess mortality. Thus, older adults are an important priority for influenza immunisation campaigns. Unfortunately, older adults generally display lower immune responses to standard influenza vaccines because of immunosenescence, with resulting suboptimal vaccine effectiveness. Thus, the development of improved vaccines that heighten immune responses and improve effectiveness is an important medical need. To this end, enhanced influenza vaccines specifically targeting this age group have been developed, which seek to overcome the inherent limitations in the immune responses of older adults. Both the licensed high-dose trivalent influenza vaccine (hdTIV) containing fourfold higher antigen contents than standard vaccine, and the MF59® -adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV) have been proven to be safe and well-tolerated while enhancing the immune response. Healthcare providers for populations of older adults should be advised to routinely use these enhanced influenza vaccines in seasonal immunisation campaigns to provide improved immunity against influenza and its consequences in this particularly susceptible age group.

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