Effects of Ageing on the Vaccination Response

Birgit Weinberger


Vaccination is the most effective measure to prevent infectious diseases, as vaccination of children has proven world-wide. The topic of vaccines for the older adult is receiving increased attention due to demographic changes and the increased incidence and severity of many infections in older adults. Vaccine recommendations for the old are implemented in most countries and include vaccination against influenza, Streptococcus pneumoniae and frequently also herpes zoster. Vaccines which are recommended for all adults, e.g. against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, need to be considered for the old. However, vaccination coverage is frequently poor. Immunogenicity and clinical efficacy of most vaccines decrease with age and are therefore not optimal in the old. Strategies to improve vaccines for the older age group include; optimized schedules, high- dose formulations, alternative routes of administration, such as intradermal vaccination, and the use of adjuvants. Detailed knowledge of age-associated changes to the immune system will enable us to rationally design new vaccines, which specifically target the aged immune system. The development of novel vaccines replacing existing formulations and of vaccines against additional pathogens is being actively pursued, and together with optimal use of existing vaccines, will contribute to improved health and quality of life for an ageing society.


Vaccination • Ageing • Influenza • Streptococcuspneumoniae • Herpes zoster • Tetanus • Diphtheria • Pertussis • Respiratory syncytial virus

B. Weinberger (*)

Research Institute for Biomedical Aging Research, University of Innsbruck,

Rennweg 10, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017 69

V. Bueno et al. (eds.), The Ageing Immune System and Health,

DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-43365-3_5

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