Seniors need high vaccine dose to prevent the flu

Physicians have long known that the elderly often fail to generate the kind of immune response they need when given a standard flu shot. Now a research group says that quadrupling their vaccine dose can result in 30 percent to 80 percent more antibodies--the kind of response that they need to guard against the flu.

About 90 percent of the estimated 36,000 people who die from flu-related causes in the United States each year are 65 and older.

"Without doubt, the influenza vaccine as it is today is beneficial for everyone, including older adults, and we strongly encourage every older person, and every person with a chronic illness, to get vaccinated," said Ann Falsey, M.D., an infectious diseases specialist at Rochester General Hospital. "However, older people generally don't respond to vaccines as well as young healthy adults and therefore, there is much room for improvement. The goal is to increase immune response in older adults, since this is one of the populations most at risk for becoming seriously ill or dying from influenza."

- check out the press release