Statin use does not impact effectiveness of the influenza vaccine

November 1, 2018 (Healio)

A large observational study, now published in Clinical Infectious Disease, has shown that statin use did not impact the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine.

The results of this study have been referred to as “very reassuring,” according to the study’s lead author, Fiona J. Havers, MD, MHS, medical officer in the Division of Bacterial Diseases in the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Havers explained that previous studies with a purpose of observing the association between the influenza vaccine and it not working as well in people taking statins, had raised several concerns.

In the last three influenza seasons, about 115,000 to 630,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 to 27,000 deaths occurred in the United States due to influenza or complications to influenza. Most of these deaths were among those aged 65 and older, and many older adults are on statins to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.

In this study, vaccine effectiveness was tested using a test-negative design in a population of adults 45 years and older with medically attended acute respiratory infection during six influenza seasons (2011 to 2017). Information about vaccination status, medical history and statin use at the time of vaccination was provided by medical and pharmacy records.

Data was collected from 11,692 patients – 30% of those were statins users. 78% of statin users and 60%of non-statin users received the influenza vaccine. Overall, 28 percent tested positive for influenza.

The study found that the influenza vaccine was 36 percent effective in statin users and 39 percent effective in non-statin users.

Based on these percentages, this study showed that “statin use demonstrated no significant modification” of influenza vaccine effectiveness,” and therefore, Havers believes the influenza vaccine is the greatest way to prevent influenza infection, especially in older adults.

Read more about this finding here.