Knowledge Transfer Series


An online environment designed to promote, educate and share information about the burden of seasonal influenza and its presence in the United States.

Seasonal Influenza in Older Adults: Immunization Challenges and Options for Vaccination Strategies

mdBriefCase eCME

Planning Committee

  • William Schaffner, MD (Co-Chair)
  • Joel Kettner, MD (Co-Chair)
  • Wendy Keitel, MD
  • Kenneth Schmader, MD
  • Diane M. Simpson, MD

International Contributors

  • Dr. Eduardo Lopez
  • Dr. Janet McElhaney
  • Dr. Albert Osterhaus
  • Dr. Allan Ronald
  • Dr. William Schaffner
  • Dr. Paul Van Buynder
  • Dr. Joel Kettner (Chair)

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the pathophysiology, natural history, and clinical outcomes related to influenza in the adult population over 65 years.
  • Describe the estimated burden of disease for adults over 65 years that can be attributed to influenza, and how it varies by demographics, presence of other health conditions, and social determinants.
  • Summarize biological characteristics of this demographic with respect to the effectiveness and efficacy of influenza vaccines.
  • Compare different types of influenza vaccines with respect to efficacy, effectiveness, efficiency, and equity (including estimated net benefits, and safety), with a focus on FDA-approved vaccines for use in older adults.
  • Discuss potential policies/strategies to further protect older adults from influenza, i.e., by improving vaccine uptake in this population, and by immunization of health care providers and other close contacts.

This activity is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Seqirus. NFID policies restrict funders from controlling program content.

Physician Resources

CDC Key Facts about Influenza (Flu) & Flu Vaccine

The flu basics - everything you need to know about influenza and the flu vaccine.

CDC Influenza Risk Assessment Tool

The Influenza Risk Assessment Tool (IRAT) is an evaluation tool being developed by CDC and external influenza experts that seeks to assess the potential pandemic risk posed by influenza A viruses that currently circulate in animals but not in humans.

ACIP Vaccine Recommendations

Find out what recommendations are being made by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practice (ACIP) on Influenza.

Slide Decks

PCIRN presentation – Flu B

How does frailty relate to influenza?

ICID National Grand Rounds in Infectious Diseases

Flu Vaccines for Little Kids - What's new, What's True?


Influenza Vaccine Responses in Older Adults

McElhaney, JE. 2010.


The most profound consequences of immune senescence with respect to public health are the increased susceptibility to influenza and loss of efficacy of the current split-virus influenza vaccines in older adults, which are otherwise very effective in younger populations. Influenza infection is associated with high rates of complicated illness including pneumonia, heart attacks and strokes in the 65+ population. Changes in both innate and adaptive immune function not only converge in the reduced response to vaccination and protection against influenza, but present significant challenges to new vaccine development. Read More

Prevention and Control of Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, United States, 2015–16 Influenza Season

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report - August 7, 2015.

Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities in Protecting Older Adults from Influenza, A Brief from the NFID

People of all ages can become infected with influenza virus, but the infection is particularly serious in older adults.

Immunosenescence: Influenza vaccination and the elderly.

Aging is associated with a decline in the normal function of the immune system, both cellular and humoral, which often leads to a state of 'immunosenescence'.

This resource centre is supported in part by an unrestricted educational grant from

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