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High-Dose Flu Vaccine Beats Standard Dose for Frail Elderly

Vaccine elicits greater immune response in this population at higher risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A high-dose influenza vaccine produces a stronger immune response than the standard vaccine in frail seniors under care in nursing homes, according to a new study published online Dec. 17 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Researchers compared the high-dose and standard vaccines in 187 frail older adults with an average age of 87. The high-dose vaccine prompted a modest but stronger improvement in the immune response to all but one flu strain at 30 and 180 days after vaccination.

"For frail older adults, the high-dose vaccine appears to be a better option to protect against flu than the standard dose," study leader David Nace, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Pittsburgh, said in an Infectious Diseases Society of America news release. "Even in the frail, long-term care population, the high-dose flu vaccine looks like it produces a greater antibody response than the standard-dose vaccine."

About nine out of every 10 flu-related deaths in the United States are among people aged 65 and older, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People aged 85 and older in long-term care communities are at high risk of developing flu, and their immune systems may be less responsive to vaccines, the researchers say.

The study was funded in part by Sanofi Pasteur; several authors disclosed financial ties to Sanofi Pasteur.

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