High-dose flu vaccine more effective in elderly, Vanderbilt-led study shows

From the Winter 2015 edition of Vanderbilt Medicine Magazine

Photo by Susan Urmy
Photo by Susan Urmy

High-dose influenza vaccine is 24 percent more effective than the standard-dose vaccine in protecting persons ages 65 and over against influenza illness and its complications, according to a Vanderbilt-led study published in August 2014 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The multi-center study enrolled 31,989 participants from 126 research centers in the U.S. and Canada during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 influenza seasons in the Northern Hemisphere in order to compare the high-dose trivalent vaccine versus the standard-dose trivalent vaccine in adults over 65.

Researchers concluded that the high-dose vaccine is safe, induces significantly higher antibody responses, and provides superior protection against laboratory-confirmed influenza illness compared to standard dose among persons over 65.

Study data also indicated that the high-dose vaccine may provide clinical benefit for the prevention of hospitalizations, pneumonia, cardio-respiratory conditions, non-routine medical visits, and medication use.

Adults over 65 are particularly vulnerable to influenza complications, accounting for most seasonal influenza-related hospitalizations and deaths. n Craig Boerner