Study: Some flu vaccines cause stronger immune response in older adults

December 12, 2019 (CDC)

Those over the age of 65 are more susceptible to developing the flu due to their weakened immune systems, and a new study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases has found that there are at least three influenza vaccines that may improve flu protection amongst older adults.

These three “enhanced” vaccines that were tested were a high-dose 3-compnent flu vaccine that has four time the regular amount of antigen in a vaccine, a different 3-companent flu vaccine that has a specially formulated adjuvant to boost antibody response, and a 4-component recombinant hemagglutinin (HA) vaccination that use cell-based production instead of egg-based. These vaccines, along with a normal 4-component flu vaccine, were administered to various people over the age of 65 throughout Hong Kong. All three of these “enhanced” vaccines had produced an improved immune system response compared to the standard vaccine, with there being higher antibody levels against influenza A(H1N1) and A(H3N2).

Even though higher antibody responses do not guarantee better protection against influenza, it does minimize the chances of older adults developing a severe form of influenza that could be deadly, so these new vaccines are nevertheless an improvement upon current standard vaccines.

It is also important to note that even though patients in this study were located in Hong Kong, these three vaccines are licensed for use within the United States as well.

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