While the natural phenomenon of declining immunological function with age (aka immunosenescence) has been well documented, researchers have discovered that older women experience this more so than men.
A recent study led by Dr Sabra Klein from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that age in addition to declining estrogen levels in menopausal women can decrease immunological response to the influenza vaccination. This poses a challenge in the development of critical antibodies needed to protect against the virus.
“What we show here is that the decline in estrogen that occurs with menopause impacts women’s immunity… these findings suggest that for vaccines, one size doesn’t fit all,” said Klein.
This research highlights the need for efforts that explore the ways in which human biological differences impact vaccine effectiveness. Older adults deserve the right to vaccines that will promote health, longevity, and the maintenance of functional ability.
As menopause is a natural part of female ageing, understanding the hormonal and cellular changes within the body can lead to the development of more effective vaccines for this demographic, thus promoting health for all.
If interested in learning more about the impact of menopause on immunological function, contact IFA expert Dr Marla Shapiro, menopause specialist. Dr Shapiro is the President Elect of the North American Menopause Society, and a Member of the Order of Canada for her commitment to producing high-quality health information. She is a highly respected health and medical expert in popular media, being featured on such programs as CANADA AM and CTV News Channel.
Additionally, consider attending the IFA’s 15thGlobal Conference on Ageing “Rights Matter”in 2020 which will feature “Addressing Inequalities” as a key theme, where topics pertinent to older women’s health will be explored.
Dr. Marla Shapiro Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine | Preventive Medicine
Dr. Shapiro was named a member of the Order of Canada, for contributions as a family physician and trusted source of health information.