Challenges for vaccination in the elderly

Richard Aspinall, Giuseppe Del Giudice, Rita B. Effros, Beatrix Grubeck-Loebenstein, Suryaprakash Sambhara

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

159 Citations (Scopus)
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The increased susceptibility of the elderly to infection presents a major challenge to public health services. An aging immune system is well documented as the cause of increased infection rates in elderly people. Such immunosenescence is multi-factorial and incompletely understood. Immunosenescent changes include malfunctioning of innate immune system cellular receptors; involution of the thymus, with consequent reduction of the naïve T cell population; alteration of the T cell population composition; modified phenotypes of individual T cells; and replicative senescence of memory cells expressing naïve markers. Unfortunately, immunosenescence also renders vaccination less effective in the elderly. It is therefore important that the vaccines used against common but preventable diseases, such as influenza, are specifically enhanced to overcome the reduced immune responsiveness of this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Number of pages9
JournalImmunity and Ageing
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Influenza
  • Telomere Length
  • West Nile Virus
  • Innate Immune System
  • Adaptive Immune System

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Ageing


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