Public Release: 2-Mar-2017
In a bad flu season, high-dose flu vaccine appeared better at preventing deaths in seniors
Infectious Diseases Society of America
The high-dose flu vaccine appeared to be more effective at preventing post-influenza deaths among older adults than the standard-dose vaccine, at least during a more severe flu season, according to a large new study of Medicare beneficiaries published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. The findings build on earlier research suggesting that the high-dose vaccine may be better at preventing influenza virus infections and other flu-related outcomes in seniors, including office visits and hospitalizations, compared to the standard-dose vaccine.
Older adults are at high risk for serious complications from flu because of their age. In recent years, between 71 percent and 85 percent of flu-related deaths have occurred among people 65 years of age and older, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The high-dose flu vaccine was approved in 2009 in the U.S. for adults 65 and older. "This is the population that everybody worries about," said study author David K. Shay, MD, MPH, of CDC's Influenza Division. "Many of the most serious outcomes of flu infections occur in older people."