Influenza vaccination and the elderly: Pandemic preparedness

Mary Jo Kasten, Gregory A. Poland

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Seasonal influenza causes significant morbidity and mortality in the elderly, the very young and those with chronic illness, despite the availability of effective vaccines. The mortality and morbidity attributed annually to seasonal influenza are small in comparison to the potential mortality and morbidity of a novel highly pathogenic human influenza A virus strain. The current influenza A/H5N1 virus that has caused epidemics in poultry and is evolving to find new niches needs only to become more efficiently transmitted from human to human to cause the next pandemic. Vaccination is the intervention with the potential to save the most lives when a pandemic occurs. Pandemic awareness and preparedness are essential to decrease the predicted chaos, death and illness arising from the next influenza pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalDrugs and Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


  • Elderly
  • Influenza vaccines, therapeutic use
  • Influenza virus infections, prevention
  • Influenza virus infections, treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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