Depression, aging, and immunity: implications for COVID-19 vaccine immunogenicity

Bart N. Ford, Jonathan Savitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The aging process can have detrimental effects on the immune system rendering the elderly more susceptible to infectious disease and less responsive to vaccination. Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been hypothesized to show characteristics of accelerated biological aging. This raises the possibility that depressed individuals will show some overlap with elderly populations with respect to their immune response to infection and vaccination. Here we provide an umbrella review of this literature in the context of the SARS CoV-2 pandemic. On balance, the available data do indeed suggest that depression is a risk factor for both adverse outcomes following COVID-19 infection and for reduced COVID-19 vaccine immunogenicity. We conclude that MDD (and other major psychiatric disorders) should be recognized as vulnerable populations that receive priority for vaccination along with other at-risk groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalImmunity and Ageing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Aging
  • Depression
  • Immunosenescence
  • Inflammaging
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • SARS CoV-2
  • Vaccine immunogenicity


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