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COVID-19 vaccines could be less effective in the elderly

One U of G professor says most vaccines aren't designed to work well for the elderly

It's no secret COVID-19 has hit the elderly the hardest and with the worst consequences.

However, one local expert says the vaccines being developed to prevent the virus are not being catered to this age group.

According to Byram Bridle, Associate Professor of Viral Immunology at the University of Guelph, most vaccines aren't specifically designed to work well for the elderly.

This makes sense when it comes to a virus, such as the flu, which is also deadly in the very young. But with COVID-19, it seems to be just the older age groups that are the hardest hit. 

Bridle tells The Mike Farwell Show when it comes to vaccines for COVID-19, even the animals selected for trials, resemble humans in their teenage years or early twenties.

"There are very few scientists who actually try and develop vaccines with the intention of them working well in the elderly."

In the case of COVID-19, most trials currently underway involve people under 55-years-old and if the vaccine doesn't work well in the elderly, it's too late to actually do anything about it.

"I believe the vaccination strategies for the elderly are going to have to be tailored for the elderly so we may actually need two different vaccination strategies to be effective."

Bridle says this mentality must be taken on very early in the vaccination process, which means any vaccines catered towards helping the elderly, won't be available until the next coronavirus outbreak.

He says as our bodies age, our immune system also ages which is why a vaccine that is effective for someone in their twenties may not be so effective for someone much older.


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