Seasonal Flu Shot Drops Heart Attack Risk

LINCOLN, England, Sept. 20 (UPI) — The seasonal influenza vaccine reduced the risk of heart attack by 19 percent in British baby boomers — age 40 and older — researchers say.

Niroshan Siriwardena of the University of Lincoln in England and colleagues say the study included 78,706 patients, of whom 16,012 were cases of heart attack from Nov. 1, 2001, to May 31, 2007, and 62,694 were matched controls from the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database.

Fifty-three percent of the people who had a heart attack had received the seasonal influenza vaccination in the previous year and 53 percent of the controls had received the seasonal flu shot.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, also finds the pneumococcal vaccination was not associated with a reduction in the rate of acute heart attack.

The influenza vaccine has nothing to do with the reduced heart attack risk, but it reduces the risk of influenza and respiratory infection has been shown to be linked to heart attack, the study authors say.

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