Influenza vaccination reduced myocardial infarctions in UK older adults: a prior event rate ratio study
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OBJECTIVES: We aimed to estimate the real-world effectiveness of the influenza vaccine against myocardial infarction (MI) and influenza in the decade since adults aged ≥ 65 years were first recommended the vaccine. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We identified annual cohorts, 1997 to 2011, of adults aged ≥ 65 years, without previous influenza vaccination, from UK general practices, registered with the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Using a quasi-experimental study design to control for confounding bias, we estimated influenza vaccine effectiveness on hospitalization for MI, influenza, and antibiotic prescriptions for lower respiratory tract infections. RESULTS: Vaccination was moderately effective against influenza, the prior event rate ratio-adjusted hazard ratios ranging from 0.70 in 1999 to 0.99 in 2001. Prior event rate ratio-adjusted hazard ratios demonstrated a protective effect against MIs, varying between 0.40 in 2010 and 0.89 in 2001. Aggregated across the cohorts, influenza vaccination reduced the risk of MIs by 39% (95% confidence interval: 34%, 44%). CONCLUSION: Effectiveness of the flu vaccine in preventing MIs in older UK adults is consistent with the limited evidence from clinical trials. Similar trends in effectiveness against influenza and against MIs suggest the risk of influenza mediates the effectiveness against MIs, although divergence in some years implies the mechanism may be complex.
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