Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Effectiveness of inactivated influenza vaccine in autoimmune rheumatic diseases treated with disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.




To examine the association between inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) administration and primary care consultation for joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) flare, corticosteroid prescription, vasculitis and unexplained fever in people with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (AIRDs).

Methods We undertook within-person comparisons using self-controlled case-series methodology. AIRD cases who received the IIV and had an outcome of interest in the same influenza cycle were ascertained in Clinical Practice Research Datalink. The influenza cycle was partitioned into exposure periods (1–14 days prevaccination and 0–14, 15–30, 31–60 and 61–90 days postvaccination), with the remaining time-period classified as non-exposed. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% CI for different outcomes were calculated.

Results Data for 14?928 AIRD cases (69% women, 80% with RA) were included. There was no evidence for association between vaccination and primary care consultation for RA flare, corticosteroid prescription, fever or vasculitis. On the contrary, vaccination associated with reduced primary care consultation for joint pain in the subsequent 90?days (IRR 0.91 (95% CI 0.87 to 0.94)).

Conclusion This study found no evidence for a significant association between vaccination and primary care consultation for most surrogates of increased disease activity or vaccine adverse-effects in people with AIRDs. It adds to the accumulating evidence to support influenza vaccination in AIRDs.

Acceptance Date Apr 7, 2019
Publication Date Apr 29, 2019
Journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Print ISSN 0003-4967
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Keywords Inactivated influenza vaccine, clinical practice, case studies, autoimmune rheumatic disease flares.
Publisher URL