The Association of Previous Vaccination with Live-Attenuated Varicella Zoster Vaccine and COVID-19 Positivity: An Israeli Population-Based Study

Eugene Merzon, Ilan Green, Eli Somekh, Shlomo Vinker, Avivit Golan-Cohen, Ariel Israel, Alessandro Gorohovski, Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern, Michal Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine affords indirect protection against COVID-19, which is presumably due to priming of the innate immune system. It was hypothesized that the live attenuated Varicella Zoster (LAVZ) vaccine, recommended for the elderly population, would also protect against COVID-19 infection. A retrospective population-based cross-sectional study was conducted using the Leumit Health Services (LHS) database. LAVZ-vaccinated patients were matched with controls based on a propensity scoremodel using 1:9 nearest-neighbormatching. Matchingwas based on age, gender, and the presence of some chronic disorders, which were selected according to their association with COVID-19 infection. Multivariate logistic regression analyses, adjusted for sex, age, smoking status, comorbidities, and chronicmedications associated with COVID-19 risk, were used to estimate the association between LAVZ vaccination and COVID-19 RT-PCR results. Subjects (625) vaccinatedwith LAVZ and RT-PCR-tested for COVID-19were identified. After 1:9matching of subjectswho received the LAVZ vaccine, 6250 subjects were included in the study. Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated a significant and independent negative association between having received the LAVZ vaccine and the likelihood of COVID-19 infection (adjusted OR = 0.47 (95% CI 0.33–0.69, p < 0.001)). This association was further strengthened after separate analysis based on the time of LAVZ vaccination before COVID-19 RT-PCR testing. Individuals aged _50 years vaccinated with LAVZ had a decreased likelihood of being tested positive for COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
JournalVaccines
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19 infection
  • Live-attenuated zoster vaccine

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