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Clin Interv Aging. 2012;7:55-64. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S25215. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

Effectiveness of influenza vaccine in aging and older adults: comprehensive analysis of the evidence.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, University Hospitals and Medical School of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.


Foremost amongst the diseases preventable by vaccination is influenza. Worldwide, influenza virus infection is associated with serious adverse events leading to hospitalization, debilitating complications, and death in elderly individuals. Immunization is considered to be the cornerstone for preventing these adverse health outcomes, and vaccination programs are timed to optimize protection during the annual influenza season. Trivalent inactivated influenza virus vaccines are believed to be both effective and cost-saving; however, in spite of widespread influenza vaccination programs, rates of hospitalization for acute respiratory illness and cardiovascular diseases have been increasing in this population during recent annual influenza seasons. From meta-analyses summarizing estimates of influenza vaccine effectiveness from available observational clinical studies, this review aims to examine how effective current influenza vaccine strategies are in the aging and older adult population and to analyze which are the most important biases that interfere with measurements of influenza vaccine effectiveness. Furthermore, consideration is given to strategies that should be adopted in order to optimize influenza vaccine effectiveness in the face of immune exhaustion.


hemagglutinin activity inhibition; hemagglutinin inhibition; immunosenescence; influenza vaccine effectiveness; influenza virus infection; innate immunity; older adults

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