While influenza affects people of all ages, infections among the elderly are more likely to require hospitalisation or cause serious complications such as pneumonia and heart attacks. Of those who die from flu-related causes, 90% are aged 65 and over.
Older people’s immune systems don’t respond to flu vaccines as well as that of younger people so enhanced influenza vaccines have been developed. In Australia an adjuvanted influenza vaccine is registered for use in people aged 65 and over and is free under the National Immunisation Program. It is a quadrivalent vaccine (which covers 4 strains of the influenza virus), as well as an ingredient (the adjuvant) that helps boost the immune response.
It is important to remember flu vaccines are, at best, only partially protective. For more information speak to your GP.