Insights on Influenza Blog
Mission: To save lives and reduce hospitalizations by protecting children, families, and communities against influenza.


Influenza and seniors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults receive an annual flu vaccine to protect themselves from flu and help stop the spread of the virus to their families and communities.1

Impact of Flu on Seniors

During most flu seasons, individuals who are 65 years of age or older tend to bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease.2



The results of flu in seniors accounts for:

Danger of Flu in Seniors

Even though today’s seniors are often healthy and active, our immune systems become less effective as we age. This puts older individuals at a greater risk of contracting flu and developing serious complications that may impact their health in both the immediate and long term. 

Seniors hospitalized from influenza

An otherwise healthy adult may end up hospitalized and suffer with permanent health consequences that could have been avoided.2  

Even months after recovering from flu, seniors remain at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke or other health disabilities.3 

Seniors with flu have increased risk of heart attack, stroke or other health disabilities

Influenza can pose severe risk to Seniors

For seniors who already suffer with chronic health conditions, the flu can pose a more severe risk.4 Learn more about the various health conditions that can elevate an individual's risk of complications from flu here.

Benefits of Flu Vaccination in Seniors

Staying flu-free prevents seniors from missing out on the activities they enjoy.  Flu vaccination not only reduces the number of flu illnesses among seniors, but studies have shown that it also reduces the likelihood of more serious flu outcomes such as:5,6

Intensive care

unit admissions

Intensive care unit

length of stay

Overall duration of

hospitalization stay



Which Flu Vaccines are Recommended for Seniors?

Generally speaking, adults are able to receive any flu vaccine that is approved for use in their age group. However, there are two vaccines specifically designed for people 65 years of age and older, including a high dose flu vaccine and an adjuvanted flu vaccine.

Senior influenza vaccination

High Dose Flu Vaccine

The high dose flu vaccine known as Fluzone contains a higher amount of antigens than a regular flu shot. Since the antigens are the substances that provoke an immune response, these vaccines are specifically designed to evoke a stronger immune response and therefore higher antibody production following vaccination. Studies show that adults who received the high dose vaccine had 24% fewer influenza infections as compared to those who received the standard dose flu vaccine. Learn more about the high dose flu vaccine here.

Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine

The adjuvanted flu vaccine known as Fluad is made with a stronger antigen that is intended to create a stronger immune response to vaccination. In an observational study of 282 people aged 65 years and older conducted during the 2011-12 season, Fluad was 63% more effective than regular-dose unadjuvanted flu shots. Learn more about adjuvanted flu vaccine here.

Miller Family Video

The Miller family knows the importance of protecting yourself and your loved ones from flu after watching their granddaughter in the hospital fighting for her life.


Visit these other pages to learn more:

Page last reviewed: July 2020. 

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