CHARLOTTESILLE, Va. — High-dose influenza vaccine is 24% more effective than the standard-dose vaccine in protecting persons ages 65 and older against influenza illness and its complications, according to a Vanderbilt-led study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“The study was done to see if using a high-dose vaccine protected older adults better than the usual vaccine. Until this trial came out, we didn’t know if it was going to be clinically better or not, and now we know it is better,” said lead author Keipp Talbot, assistant professor of medicine, who served as coordinating investigator for the more than 100 study sites. “Older adults are the most vulnerable to influenza; they become the sickest and have the most hospitalizations. This vaccine works better than the standard dose and hence, I would tell my patients to get the high-dose vaccine every year. In the meantime, we will continue to work to find newer and better vaccines for older adults.”
Researchers concluded that the high-dose vaccine is safe, induces significantly higher antibody responses, and provides superior protection against laboratory-confirmed influenza illness compared to standard dose among persons older than 65 years of age.
Study data also indicated that the high-dose vaccine may provide clinical benefit for the prevention of hospitalizations, pneumonia, cardio-respiratory conditions, non-routine medical visits and medication use.
Known as the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine made by Sanofi Pasteur, the inactivated influenza vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen that is contained in the standard-dose Fluzone vaccine. “Fluzone High-Dose vaccine is the only influenza vaccine in the United States that is designed specifically to address the age-related decline of the immune system in older adults,” said David Greenberg, VP scientific and medical affairs and chief medical officer of Sanofi Pasteur U.S.
Study authors said about 1-in-4 breakthrough cases of influenza could be prevented if the high-dose vaccine were used instead of the standard-dose vaccine.
The multi-center study enrolled 31,989 participants from 126 research centers in the United States and Canada during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 influenza seasons in the Northern Hemisphere in order to compare the high-dose trivalent vaccine versus the standard-dose trivalent vaccine in adults older than 65 years of age.