Influenza vaccine and risk of acute myocardial infarction in a population-based case-control study

Heart. 2021 Oct 13;heartjnl-2021-319754. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2021-319754. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objective: To assess the relationship between influenza vaccination and risk of a first acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in the general population by different epidemic periods.

Methods: This is a population-based case-control study carried out in BIFAP (Base de datos para la investigación farmacoepidemiológica en atención primaria), over 2001-2015, in patients aged 40-99 years. Per each incident AMI case, five controls were randomly selected, individually matched for exact age, sex and index date (AMI diagnosis). A patient was considered vaccinated when he/she had a recorded influenza vaccination at least 14 days before the index date within the same season. The association between influenza vaccination and AMI risk was assessed through a conditional logistic regression, computing adjusted ORs (AOR) and their respective 95% CIs. The analysis was performed overall and by each of the three time epidemic periods per study year (pre-epidemic, epidemic and postepidemic).

Results: We identified 24 155 AMI cases and 120 775 matched controls. Of them, 31.4% and 31.2%, respectively, were vaccinated, yielding an AOR of 0.85 (95% CI 0.82 to 0.88). No effect modification by sex, age and background cardiovascular risk was observed. The reduced risk of AMI was observed shortly after vaccination and persisted over time. Similar results were obtained during the pre-epidemic (AOR=0.87; 95% CI 0.79 to 0.95), epidemic (AOR=0.89; 95% CI 0.82 to 0.96) and postepidemic (AOR=0.83; 95% CI 0.79 to 0.87) periods. No association was found with pneumococcal vaccine (AOR=1.10; 95% CI 1.06 to 1.15).

Conclusions: Results are compatible with a moderate protective effect of influenza vaccine on AMI in the general population, mostly in primary prevention, although bias due to unmeasured confounders may partly account for the results.

Keywords: epidemiology; myocardial infarction.