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As we age and get older we typically think that these changes manifest physically in our appearance, but the change also affects us genetically and on a cellular level specifically the immune system. As we age the immune system is progressively deteriorating which cause normal functions such as metabolism and immune defense to not function as they did at a younger age, this is known as Immunosenescence. Oh SJ, Lee JK, Shin OS (2019) stated that “Immunosenescence is characterized by a progressive deterioration of the immune system associated with aging” (pp. 1). It is also pretty interesting that our bodies also begin to process vaccines and medication differently as we get older; become less and less receptive to them essentially immune in a sense. We will be discussing a possible reason this is accurate and the changes our bodies undergo play a role in its ability to process vaccines.

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The older we get the more vulnerable our immune system becomes at fighting off infectious diseases. The primary cause of this is the decrease in the amount of T cells we have as we get older. According to the study by Fukushima Y, Minato N, Hattori M (2018) “the TCR responsiveness of the overall CD4+ T-cell population, in terms of proliferation and regular cytokine production, diminished gradually with age”. The reason why T-cells are important as it relates to the immune system is because their main role is to fight of and kill virus infected cells. I think that it would be very important to begin exploring the effectiveness of vaccines tailored to elder patients. Life expectancy is begin extended that means that the elder population is also being pushed further, so it would be important to start developing treatments that would be able to support that demographic of the population. In the study performed by Haralambieva IH, Painter SD, Kennedy RB (2015) the observed the effects of age and immunosenescence markers post influenza vaccination and the results indicate that there is an indicator that tie the effects of age to the effectiveness of vaccine effectiveness.

One major cause in how effective vaccines are in elderly patients is because of Immunosenescence. I think it is important for to observe the effectiveness of vaccinations as it relates to the elderly population, we know that the demographic of the population is susceptible to infections due to the decline in T-cells. In conclusion understanding the immunosenescence functions will also help us understand the aging and how vaccines work in elderly patients.


  1. Oh SJ, Lee JK, Shin OS. Aging and the Immune System: The Impact of Immunosenescence on Viral Infection, Immunity and Vaccine Immunogenicity. Immune Netw. 2019;19(6):e37. Published 2019 Nov 14. doi:10.4110/in.2019.19.e37
  2. Fukushima Y, Minato N, Hattori M. The impact of senescence-associated T cells on immunosenescence and age-related disorders. Inflamm Regen. 2018;38:24. Published 2018 Dec 24. doi:10.1186/s41232-018-0082-9
  3. Haralambieva IH, Painter SD, Kennedy RB, et al. The impact of immunosenescence on humoral immune response variation after influenza A/H1N1 vaccination in older subjects. PLoS One. 2015;10(3):e0122282. Published 2015 Mar 27. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122282

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