Epidemiological data suggest that influenza vaccination protects against all-cause mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. However, recent work has suggested there is a defect in the ability of some COPD patients to mount an adequate humoral response to influenza vaccination. The aim of our study was to investigate humoral and cell-mediated vaccine responses to the seasonal trivalent influenza vaccination (TIV) in COPD subjects and healthy controls. Forty-seven subjects were enrolled into the study; 23 COPD patients, 13 age-matched healthy controls (HC ≥ 50) and 11 young healthy control subjects (YC ≤ 40). Serum and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were isolated pre-TIV vaccination and at days 7 and 28 and 6 months post-vaccine for haemagglutinin inhibition (HAI) titre, antigen-specific T cell and antibody-secreting cell analysis. The kinetics of the vaccine response were similar between YC, HC and COPD patients and there was no significant difference in antibody titres between these groups at 28 days post-vaccine. As we observed no disease-dependent differences in either humoral or cellular responses, we investigated if there was any association of these measures with age. H1N1 (r = −0·4253, P = 0·0036) and influenza B (r = −0·344, P = 0·0192) antibody titre at 28 days negatively correlated with age, as did H1N1-specific CD4+ T helper cells (r = −0·4276, P = 0·0034). These results suggest that age is the primary determinant of response to trivalent vaccine and that COPD is not a driver of deficient responses per se. These data support the continued use of the yearly trivalent vaccine as an adjunct to COPD disease management.