To determine the prevalence of influenza vaccination in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and its effect on COPD exacerbations, we conducted a retrospective population-based cohort study analyzing real-life data. We included all registered COPD patients ≥40 years old using respiratory medication during the study period (2012-2013). Influenza vaccination during the 2012/2013 campaign was the parameter studied. Moderate and severe exacerbations during 2013 were the dependent outcome variables. Logistic regression adjusting for age, gender, concomitant asthma diagnosis, COPD severity, smoking status, number of moderate and severe exacerbations the previous year, and comorbidities was performed, and 59.6% of the patients received seasonal influenza vaccination. The percentage of patients with exacerbations was higher among those vaccinated. Influenza vaccination had a statistically significantly negative (non-protective) crude effect favoring the risk of severe exacerbations: OR: 1.20 (95% CI; 1.05-1.37). This association diminished and lost statistical significance after adjustment: aOR: 0.93 (95% CI; 0.74-1.18). The protective effect in the analysis restricted to the epidemic period was not significant: aOR: 0.82 (95% CI; 0.58-1.16). We concluded that prevalence of influenza vaccination was suboptimal. In contrast with most of the available evidence, our results did not support a protective effect of influenza vaccination on the risk of admission for COPD exacerbation.
Keywords: COPD exacerbations; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; influenza vaccination; primary prevention.