Older adults are prioritized for influenza vaccination but also have lowered antibody responses to the vaccine. Higher-doses of influenza antigen may increase immune response and thus be more effective. Our objectives were to compare the efficacy and safety of the high-dose influenza vaccine to the standard-dose influenza vaccine in the elderly (age>65).
Data sources: Randomized trials (RCTs) from Medline (Ovid), EMBASE (Ovid), Cochrane Library (Wiley), ClinicalTrials.gov, reference lists of relevant articles, and gray literature.
Two reviewers independently identified RCTs comparing high-dose influenza vaccine (60μg of hemagglutinin per strain) to standard-dose influenza vaccine (15μg of hemagglutinin per strain) in adults over the age of 65years.
Two reviewers independently extracted trial-level data including population characteristics, interventions, outcomes, and funding sources. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool.
We included seven eligible trials; all were categorized as having a low (n=3) or unclear (n=4) risk of bias. Patients receiving the high-dose vaccine had significantly less risk of developing laboratory-confirmed influenza infections (Relative Risk 0.76, 95%CI 0.65 to 0.90; I2 0%, 2 trials, 41,141 patients). Post-vaccination geometric mean titres and seroprotection rates were also higher in high-dose vaccine recipients. There were no protocol-defined serious adverse events in the included trials in either group.
In elderly adults, the high-dose influenza vaccine was well-tolerated, more immunogenic, and more efficacious in preventing influenza infections than the standard-dose vaccine. Further pragmatic trials are needed to determine if the higher efficacy translates into higher vaccine effectiveness in adults over the age of 65.