The effect of ageing of the immune system on vaccination responses

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2013 Jun;9(6):1364-7. doi: 10.4161/hv.24696. Epub 2013 Apr 12.


With a falling birth rate and increasing life expectancy we are experiencing dramatic demographic changes that result in an ever ageing population. Ageing is accompanied by increased susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections indicative of a decline in immunity, termed immunesenescence. Immunesenescence also has implications for vaccination programmes and there is clear evidence that the decline in adaptive immunity results in dramatically reduced vaccine responses and vaccine longevity in older adults. This review summarises some of the key changes in the adaptive immune response that change with age and suggests approaches that could be used to try and improve vaccine responses in older adults.

Keywords: Immunesenescence; ageing; vaccine efficacy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines / immunology*


  • Vaccines