Hepatitis A vaccines and the elderly

Genton, Blaise; D'Acremont, Valérie; Furrer, Hans-Jacob; Hatz, Christoph; Loutan, Louis (2006). Hepatitis A vaccines and the elderly. Travel medicine and infectious disease, 4(6), pp. 303-312. Amsterdam: Elsevier

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Hepatitis A virus (HAV) exposure in unprotected adults may cause severe and serious symptoms, with risk of both morbidity and mortality increasing with age. As seroprevalence of HAV is low in industrialised countries, and an increasing number of people, with an increasing median age, travel from areas of low HAV endemicity to high endemicity, pre-travel vaccination is warranted. Vaccination of the elderly against HAV, however, may be associated with reduced seroprotection, since the immune response decreases with age. Studies with monovalent hepatitis A vaccine or combined hepatitis A and B vaccine show good efficacy in adults in general. Few studies have assessed the immune response in older adults. The only prospective study with monovalent hepatitis A vaccine in the elderly showed a reduced seroprotection of approximately 65% after a single primary dose in subjects over the age of 50 years, while seroprotection was 98% in this age group after receiving a booster dose. The only prospective study with combined hepatitis A and B vaccine in younger subjects or older than 40 years showed similar seroprotection (99-100%) against HAV compared to a monovalent vaccine after receiving three doses. As data on seroprotection for HAV in the elderly are limited, further studies are needed to elucidate how optimal protection in the elderly can be achieved. In the mean time, based on the available data, the suggestion is made to screen elderly travellers to areas endemic for HAV for the presence of naturally acquired immunity, and, if found susceptible, be immunised well in advance of their trip, to allow time for post-vaccination antibody testing and/or administration of a second dose of the vaccine.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Infectiology

UniBE Contributor:

Furrer, Hansjakob










Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:45

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:14

PubMed ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/18793 (FactScience: 1031)

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