Development of safe and effective vaccines for Covid-19 have been a global priority for thousands of scientists. Most of the participants in the varied trials are young and middle-aged adults. This has led to a concern that the good results in younger adults might not apply to older adults. Older age is a major risk factor for individuals having more severe disease and fatal outcome. It is also known that in general older adults do not have as robust an immune response to vaccination as do younger adults.
Emory University just completed a study of the m-RNA-1273 vaccine in older adults with their results being published in the New England Journal of Medicine. They looked at two age groups: 56-70 years, and greater than 71 years. Both groups received the recommended initial dose followed by the booster dose 28 days later.
The laboratory markers that were analyzed were assessment of T-cell response, and assessment of neutralizing antibody production. Both T-cells and antibodies are critical in providing protection against Covid-19. As it turns out, both age groups had excellent responses in their T-cells and antibodies.
The other parameter that was studied was adverse events, including: arthralgia, fatigue, fever, chills, headache, muscle ache, nausea, local reaction at injection site, and pain at injection site. First of all, there were no serious adverse events. Secondly, the side effects were similar in both groups with two exceptions: the 71 and older group were more likely to experience fatigue and fever than the 56-70 age group.
These results should be a source of reassurance and comfort to all those baby-boomers out there.