For elderly people in long-term facilities, higher dosages of the flu vaccine may provide better antibodies than the standard flu vaccine. The high dose vaccines were approved for individuals over the age of 65 in 2009. Yet, researchers wanted to investigate the result of a high dosage vaccine in an older generation.
In this study, researchers studied 205 people between the ages of 86 and 87, who were long-term patients in Pittsburgh facilities. After the first flu season, the researchers reported that people receiving higher dose vaccines showed significantly greater antibody responses to the three strains of the flu virus in comparison to those that received the standard vaccine. For the second year of testing, the high doses of the vaccine created better responses for two strains of the flu virus, but not for the H1N1 strain. Dr. Richard Zimmerman, from the University of Pittsburgh, explained that this may be attributed to the fact that the participants had been vaccinated against the H1N1 strain the previous year.
Although the patients exhibited better antibodies, it was unclear whether they had better protection against the virus. Overall, the study was essential in understanding the impact of the high dosages vaccines to older patients. Initially, researchers thought that the patients would not develop antibodies against the flu vaccine since they were older and debilitated. But this study showed that the older generation was capable of producing strong antibodies against the flu vaccine.