Health> Vol.5 No.12A, December 2013

Elderly vaccination—The glass is half full

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ABSTRACT

The shifting global demography and ageing of populations worldwide brings with new challenges for the health care, and an imperative for healthy ageing and preventive health strategies for adults. Immunization is the low hanging fruit for healthy ageing, and yet under-utilized for various reasons, including waning immunity in the elderly, lack of RCT data in this age group, and lack of provider confidence in vaccines for the elderly. The elderly people have a higher incidence of infection and more severe and serious consequences of infection. Diseases such as influenza, pneumococcal disease and herpes zoster have long been recognized as causing a high burden in the elderly, but evidence is also emerging for other infections such as pertussis being a major cause of the morbidity in this age group. Now, there are several vaccines which can prevent major infectious diseases in the elderly. To improve uptake of these vaccines, elderly vaccination should be viewed through a different lens to pediatric vaccination, accepting that vaccines are less immunogenic in the elderly. The population health impact of vaccines in the elderly, despite of immunosenescence and lower immunogenicity, is still likely to be high given the increased disease incidence. Vaccination is an important and readily available means of prevention in the elderly.

Cite this paper

MacIntyre, C. (2013) Elderly vaccination—The glass is half full. Health, 5, 80-85. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.512A011.

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