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Does Statin Use Reduce Influenza Vaccine Response?

Clin Infect Dis; ePub 2018 Oct 27; Havers, et al

Among adults in the US, influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) against laboratory-confirmed illness was not affected by current statin use. Researchers compared influenza VE in statin users and nonusers aged ≥45 years enrolled in the US Vaccine Effectiveness Network study over 6 influenza seasons (2011‒2017). Participants presented to outpatient clinics with acute respiratory illness and were tested for influenza. Among the findings:

  • Among 11,692 eligible participants, 3,359 (30%) were statin users and 2,806 (24%) tested positive for influenza virus infection.
  • 78% of statin users and 60% of nonusers had received influenza vaccine.
  • Influenza VE was 36% among statin users and 39% among nonusers, after adjusting for influenza confounders.
  • Statin use did not modify the effect of vaccination on influenza when analyzed by type and subtype.

Citation:

Havers FP, Chung JR, Belongia EA, et al. Influenza vaccine effectiveness and statin use among adults in the United States, 2011–2017. [Published online ahead of print October 27, 2018]. Clin Infect Dis. doi:10.1093/cid/ciy780.

Commentary:

The fact that statin use does not decrease influenza vaccine efficacy is not surprising. There were studies in 2015 that proposed a decreased response to influenza vaccine in patients on statins. The study out of Emory found that patients in a large managed care organization were more likely to seek care for a respiratory illness if they had received the influenza vaccine. These studies had a lot of methodologic flaws, namely that patients who received the influenza vaccine tended to have more medical conditions. It does make sense that those who are on statins have a higher immunization rate since they will have at least 1 medical condition that they would be interacting with their physician. —John Russell, MD