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Flu vaccine reduces heart attacks


If you need more motivation to get the seasonal flu vaccine, there is a newly published, peer-reviewed systematic review that states that flu vaccines, by preventing the flu, reduce the risk of heart attacks. Again, despite the claims of many, the flu is a dangerous disease.

As I usually do, I will analyze the study for the reader and give my critique of the study.

person getting vaccinated
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Flu vaccine and heart attack paper

In a systematic review (considered the pinnacle of the hierarchy of medical research) published on 19 November 2023 in Scientific Reports, Fatemeh Omidi,
Department of Cardiology, Imam Hossein Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of five studies that included data on heart attacks and the flu vaccine.

The key results are:

  • A 30% reduction in risk of major cardiovascular events was observed among patients who received the influenza vaccine, with 517 cases compared to 621 cases in the placebo group.
  • The study revealed a 26% reduced risk of heart attacks in patients who received the flu vaccine.
  • And a 33% reduction in cardiovascular death events.

The authors concluded that:

This study provides compelling evidence that influenza vaccination is associated with a decreased risk of major cardiovascular events, particularly myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular death. These findings highlight the potential of influenza vaccination as an adjunctive strategy in cardiovascular disease prevention. 

Summary

This systematic study shows that the flu vaccine is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular events, especially myocardial infarctions (heart attacks).

But, you may ask why. I think there are two potential reasons:

  1. A flu infection increases the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks. The flu vaccine, by reducing the risk of contracting the flu, has a secondary effect of reducing the risk of heart attacks.
  2. The flu vaccine itself has some unknown effects on the immune system that cause a reduced risk of cardiovascular events.

Since number two is highly unlikely (but not impossible), and we have good evidence that the flu increases stress and respiratory disease, it is clear that the flu vaccine, by reducing the risk of flu itself, thereby reduces the risk of cardiovascular events like heart attacks.

This just adds to the overwhelming body of evidence that the flu vaccine saves lives. This vaccine greatly reduces the risks of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events, like death. Whatever excuse you have for not getting the vaccine should be greatly outweighed by its benefits for heart health.

Citations

Michael Simpson

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