High-Dose Flu Vaccine Better at Preventing Deaths in Seniors
In a related editorial commentary, Arnold S. Monto, MD, of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study, noted that the findings fit well with previous data showing the high-dose flu vaccine is more effective against uncomplicated flu illness and likely hospitalizations. “This indicates that improvement in our 70-year-old influenza vaccines is possible, and to get there more quickly we should not ignore older technologies while working on more dramatic advances,” Dr. Monto wrote.
- Older adults are at high risk for serious complications from flu and account for a majority of flu-related deaths and hospitalizations. H3N2 influenza viruses typically hit this age group particularly hard and have been associated with higher mortality than infections by H1N1 or influenza B viruses.
- During the 2012-2013 season, when H3N2 viruses were dominant, the high-dose flu vaccine was 36 percent more effective at preventing deaths in the Medicare beneficiaries studied, compared to the standard-dose vaccine.
- When H1N1 viruses circulated during the 2013-2014 season, the high-dose vaccine was not significantly better than the standard-dose vaccine at preventing deaths.