Challenges in the Vaccination of the Elderly and Strategies for Improvement

Gatot Soegiarto, Dewajani Purnomosari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, the elderly has become a rapidly growing proportion of the world’s population as life expectancy is extending. Immunosenescence and inflammaging contribute to the increased risk of chronic non-communicable and acute infectious diseases. Frailty is highly prevalent in the elderly and is associated with an impaired immune response, a higher propensity to infection, and a lower response to vaccines. Additionally, the presence of uncontrolled comorbid diseases in the elderly also contributes to sarcopenia and frailty. Vaccine-preventable diseases that threaten the elderly include influenza, pneumococcal infection, herpes zoster, and COVID-19, which contribute to significant disability-adjusted life years lost. Previous studies had shown that conventional vaccines only yielded suboptimal protection that wanes rapidly in a shorter time. This article reviews published papers on several vaccination strategies that were developed for the elderly to solve these problems: more immunogenic vaccine formulations using larger doses of antigen, stronger vaccine adjuvants, recombinant subunit or protein conjugated vaccines, newly developed mRNA vaccines, giving booster shots, and exploring alternative routes of administration. Included also are several publications on senolytic medications under investigation to boost the immune system and vaccine response in the elderly. With all those in regard, the currently recommended vaccines for the elderly are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-173
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • comparative effectiveness analysis
  • elderly
  • frailty
  • immunosenescence
  • infection
  • recommended vaccine


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