A high-dose flu vaccine has been shown to be far more effective in keeping the elderly healthy, according to a study by the Oregon Health Authority.
The State Public Health Organization collects data on hospitalizations every year. Researchers attended more than 144,000 Portland residents aged 65 and over during last year's flu season. They found that the elderly who received high-dose flu was 30% less likely to end up in hospitalization.
The high-dose plan is four times more potent than the standard because it contains more antigens that activate an immune response to a virus. Elderly people often have a weaker immune system and may be flu-sensitive even with a standard vaccine.
Steve Robison, principal investigator and epidemiologist in the Oregon Immunization Program, said the elderly should receive a flu vaccine that is better suited to boost their immune response. High-dose vaccines are the best bet.
The study did not take into account adjuvanted vaccines – which contain an additional chemical that aims to create a stronger reaction to antigens – but Robison said these are also a better option than the typical flu shot.
The study focused on people who received the influenza vaccine before December 11, 2016. Influenza epidemics are getting worse in mid-January, when this time frame allowed vaccinated people to develop antibodies to fight viruses.
Oregon is one of the few countries to monitor flu hospitalization, which has made it possible to study.
This study took place during a particularly bad flu season. All age groups monitored by the federal government had a high number of people who visited outside clinics and emergency departments and were hospitalized for influenza. The time and geographical spread of these reports was also unusually high.
Children died at the highest rate. From autumn 2017 to spring 2018, 180 children died of influenza – the highest in the UK, reaching 171 in 2013.
About 80% of children who died did not receive influenza vaccine.
For those who received the vaccine, it helped reduce the need for medical care by 40%.
The influenza vaccine is covered by Medicare insurance. Drug vaccination programs tend to charge about $ 30 for a standard tribal shot, and other types are slightly more expensive.