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Yellow fever 17D vaccine safety and immunogenicity in the elderly.

Human Vaccines

immunology, Adolescent, Adult, Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems, statistics & numerical data, Age Factors, Aged, Aging, Antibodies, Viral, biosynthesis, blood, Antigens, Viral, Double-Blind Method, Adaptation, Physiological, Drug Hypersensitivity, etiology, Great Britain, Humans, Immunocompetence, Immunologic Memory, Middle Aged, Neutralization Tests, methods, Retrospective Studies, Yellow Fever Vaccine, administration & dosage, adverse effects

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      The incidence of serious and severe multisystem adverse events (AEs) following yellow fever (YF) 17D vaccine is higher in persons of advanced age. One hypothesis for the occurrence of these AEs in the elderly is immunological senescence and a reduced ability to clear the vaccine virus infection. We determined age-specific rates of serious and nonserious AEs in two large clinical trials of two YF 17D vaccines from different manufacturers. In addition, we analyzed AEs reported in a large general practice data base in the United Kingdom. Neutralizing antibody responses were compared in young and elderly subjects. In the clinical trials, involving a total of 4,532 subjects, there were no neurological and viscerotropic AEs; interestingly, the incidence of common injection site and systemic AEs was significantly lower in elderly than in younger subjects. The neutralizing antibody categorical and quantitative responses were equivalent across younger and elderly subjects. In contrast, the larger retrospective analysis of 43,555 persons receiving YF 17D in the UK general practice database revealed a higher incidence of significant neurologic and multisystem AEs with advancing age. The age-specific reporting rate ratio (RRR) was approximately twice that in the 25-44 year-old reference group for subjects in the 45-64 year age group (RRR 1.82; 95% CI 0.88,3.77) and 3-fold higher for the 65-74 year-old age group (RRR 2.82; 95% CI 0.81, 9.81). These results are consistent with previous reports on YF vaccine safety in the US (Martin M, et al. Emerg Infect Dis 2001;6:945-51; Khromova et al., Vaccine 2005;23:3256-63). In elderly persons, YF 17D vaccine is associated with a higher frequency of significant AEs in the elderly but a lower incidence of common nonserious side-effects. The neutralizing antibody response, which is the mediator of protective immunity to YF, is not diminished in healthy, elderly persons.

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