Results of a study led by researchers at Vanderbilt University has proved the benefits of high-dose influenza vaccine in patients 65 years and older. Results of the 31,989-participant, 126-center study, published in the August 2014 issue of the The New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated a significantly greater preventive benefit with the highdose vaccine versus the standard vaccine.
The Fluzone high-dose vaccine, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, is specifically designed to address the decline in immunity among patients 65 years and older. Approximately 1 in 4 cases of influenza that occur after administration of the standard vaccine can be prevented among seniors who receive the high-dose vaccine.
In a press release, lead author Keipp Talbot, MD, stated, “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.” Prior studies had not shown a significant advantage with use of the high-dose vaccine. According to Talbot, “This vaccine works better than the standard dose, and hence I would tell my patients to get the high-dose vaccine every year.”
Each year, influenza causes an average of 36,000 deaths and 226,000 hospitalizations. According to Talbot, adults 65 years and older are “the most vulnerable to influenza; they become the sickest and have the most hospitalizations.” Compared with the standard vaccine, the high-dose vaccine appears to prevent more hospitalizations and more cases of pneumonia, and cuts down on the need for nonroutine medical visits.