Vaccine effectiveness in older individuals: What has been learned from the influenza-vaccine experience

Pierre Olivier Lang, Sheila Govind, Wayne A. Mitchell, Claire Anne Siegrist, Richard Aspinall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Vaccination policies in most high-income countries attempt to reduce the adverse impact of influenza targeting people aged at least 60 years. However, while it is widely believed that the current immunization strategy saves many lives, influenza infection still remains a severe burden in aged individuals leading to a wide debate on the exact magnitude of the benefit of vaccination in this population. The first aim of the present review is to examine how effective current influenza-vaccine strategies are in aged adults, by analysing which are the most important factors modulating the interpretation of study results in this population. Furthermore, consideration will be given to how immune factors influence the measurement of vaccine efficacy/effectiveness, where advancing age leads to deleterious changes in the adaptive immune system, resulting in less than optimal responses to infectious agents and vaccination. Finally this review concludes with possible strategies to improve the ability of the senescent immune system to respond to vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-395
Number of pages7
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Issue number3
Early online date30 Sept 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell-mediated immunity
  • Hemagglutinin inhibition
  • Immunosenescence
  • Influenza vaccine effectiveness
  • Innate immunity
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Ageing
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neurology


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