Common drug could compromise flu vaccine

Cases of flue have decreased in Mahoning County

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN & KXAN) –  There is good news for those that suffer from the flu every year. The Ohio Department of Health reports there has been a significant dip in flu patients since last year.

And while there are plenty who will avoid getting the infection because they got the vaccine, there are some who are becoming more susceptible to it from pill they take.

The drugs are called statins, and 40 percent of seniors take them to control cholesterol. A new study suggests the drug can counteract the effects of the flu vaccine.

So far, doctors have not discovered how statins impede the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, but they still recommend patients get a flu shot.

“The flu is dangerous, and the flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your chance of getting the flu. So even if being on statins reduces the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, it doesn’t bring it down to zero. So some protection is better than having no protection at all,” said Dr. Hashim Kahn

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the H2N3 strain of the flu virus was the most widespread last year, but the vaccine was only about 23 percent effective. However, the CDC says this year’s vaccine is designed to protect patients against H2N3.

While it is estimated less than half of Americans have gotten their vaccines this year, doctors say there are very few people who shouldn’t get the vaccine: Pregnant women, children younger than 5 years old, especially if they’re younger than 2 years old. Anyone who is 65 years of age and older, has a chronic medical condition or lives in long-term care facility

Caregivers of any kind should get vaccinated.

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