Statins May Weaken the Effect of the Flu Vaccine

If you’re taking statin cholesterol-lowering drugs, you should know that this may weaken your body’s response to the flu vaccine. In those over 65 who received a flu shot, researchers found antibody concentrations were between 38% and 67% lower than those in people not taking statins.1 Among younger individuals a weakened response was also seen.

Those who received a flu shot and were taking statins were 11% more likely to develop a respiratory illness that required medical attention compared to those not taking the drugs.2 It’s thought that statins’ anti-inflammatory properties may be responsible for lowering the immune system’s response to the vaccine.

Considering that one in four Americans over aged 45 take statins, this could be one reason why the flu vaccine appears particularly ineffective among the elderly. The Lancet even concluded, “evidence for protection in adults aged 65 years or older is lacking”3  The “solution” was to come out with a new, higher dose vaccine—Fluzone High-Dose vaccine. It contains four times the amount of antigen found in a standard dose.4

Research published in 2014 showed Fluzone may lower the risk of getting influenza by 24% among seniors compared to the standard-dose vaccine.5 This still isn’t saying much, considering during the 2012 to 2013 flu season the standard flu vaccine was just 9% effective in seniors aged 65 and over.

Even when getting a vaccine with four times the dose, only one in four cases of influenza in older patients was potentially prevented. And it’s unclear whether the vaccine actually lowers the risk of influenza-related health complications and deaths.

Now, in another attempt to force the elderly to respond to the notoriously ineffective influenza vaccine, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has licensed a potentially highly reactive flu vaccine that contains a controversial oil in water MF59 (squalene) adjuvant, which has been associated with development of narcolepsy and other autoimmune disorders and chronic illness.

The Fluad vaccine developed by Novartis (sold in 2015 to Australia’s CSL Group now trading as Seqiris) is supposed to stimulate a supercharged inflammatory immune response in those over age 65 that will be more protective. At a September 2015 FDA committee meeting, consumer advocates protested that not enough study had been done in U.S. seniors to prove the squalene-adjuvanted vaccine was safe for them.6

Note: This article was reprinted with the author’s permission. It was originally published on Dr. Mercola’s website at as part of a larger article titled “Flu Flop: Another Year of Dangerous CDC Lies.” 


1 2 Black S, Nicolay U, Del Giudice G, Rappuoli R. Influence of Statins on Influenza Vaccine Response in Elderly Individuals. J Infect Dis Oct. 28, 2015.
3 Osterholm MT, Kelley NS, Sommer A, Belongia EA. Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and meta-analysisLancet Infect Dis Jan. 12. 2012.
4 Reinberg R. High-Dose Flu Vaccine May Better Protect the Elderly: Study Aug. 14, 2014.
5 DiazGranados CA, Dunning AJ, Kimmel M, Kirby D, Treanor J, Collins A, Pollak R, Christoff J, Earl J, Landolfi V, Martin E, Gurunathan S, Nathan R, Greenberg DP, Tornieporth NG, Decker MD, Talbot HK. Efficacy of high-dose versus standard-dose influenza vaccine in older adultsN Engl J Med Aug. 14, 2014.
6 Fisher BL. FDA Fast-Tracks Licensure of MF59 Adjuvanted Influenza Vaccine. Sept. 16, 2015.

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