Influenza vaccination of elderly people is efficacious and cost effective for the prevention of influenza and its complications. Some studies have pointed out low immunogenicity in this group. Health status has been poorly investigated as a risk factor that may influence the immune response to influenza vaccine. We established an immunization response study of a highly-matched elderly population in a nursing home. One-hundred-twenty subjects of Ashkenazian origin had their vaccine-induced antibody response assessed. Good response was obtained in 30.8% (37/120), and 31.7% (38/120) did not react. A lack of good response was found to be associated with dementia (P=0.016) in a multivariate analysis. In addition to dementia, malnutrition was frequently observed among poor responders, suggesting that these factors should be considered in vaccination studies. Chemoprophylaxis in addition to vaccination for elderly presenting dementia should be considered, particularly for those people living nursing homes.