PORTLAND – High-dose influenza vaccine reduces hospitalization for the flu virus among Oregon seniors, according to a new Oregon Health Authority study.
The study of more than 144,000 seniors, ages 65 and older, living in the Portland metropolitan area showed that high-dose flu vaccine was 31 percent more effective at preventing senior flu-related hospitalizations than the standard-dose flu vaccine during the 2016-2017 season, according to the study appearing in the scientific journal Vaccine.
A high-dose vaccine contains four times the antigen of a standard flu vaccine. Seniors typically have a weaker immune response to standard influenza vaccines than younger adults, and benefit from vaccines that are high-dose or “adjuvanted” specifically for seniors.
Putting another chemical, an adjuvant, into the vaccine helps create a stronger reaction to the antigen of the vaccine. Seniors should get a vaccine that is intended to boost their immune response.
Researchers found that senior use of high-dose flu vaccine, compared with standard-dose vaccine, was associated with a “substantial reduction in the risk of hospitalization” with laboratory-confirmed influenza.
“The message is: do not give the standard flu vaccine to seniors. Give the high-dose vaccine or adjuvanted vaccine,” Robison said. He said that while the adjuvanted vaccine was not addressed in the study, it also is a good alternative to the standard-dose vaccine for seniors.