Flu Shots Linked To Lower Heart Risk

There's another reason to get your flu shot this year.

  • Share
  • Read Later

Getting a flu shot not only prevents you from coming down with a bad case of influenza, it may also prevent your risk of heart disease, according to a new study.

An international group of researchers analyzed data from five randomized clinical trials on vaccination and heart disease and found that getting the annual flu shot was associated with a lower risk of heart attacks, stroke, and other adverse cardiac events.

Although scientists are unsure why, the flu has been linked with a higher rate of heart problems. So keeping flu symptoms at bay may do the heart some good as well.

The researchers analyzed over 6,400 heart patients in their review, published in the medical journal JAMA. Some of the participants got a flu shot, some got a placebo, and others received no shot of any kind. Overall, there were 246 heart attacks and other cardiovascular events, and 97 heart disease-related deaths. For patients without a history of heart disease, getting vaccinated cut their risk of an heart-related event by 36 percent. In all, participants who were vaccinated had a 19 percent lower risk of death from heart disease.


This article fails to represent the original publication in its entirety. The authors Udell JA, Zawi R, Bhatt DL, et al. (2013) reported in their original publication featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association:

Overall, our findings are based on a relatively small number of cardiovascular events (246 major adverse cardiovascular events and 97 cardiovascular deaths) among trials that varied in study design, intended primary outcomes, and patient populations. Subsequently, individual outcome analyses were of limited power. Moreover, several studies have design concerns regarding bias from inadequate randomization, concealment, and end point adjudication, which may limit our interpretation of the association of influenza vaccination with a lower risk of cardiovascular events.

Keep in mind that bias articles do not represent both sides of the argument. Articles such as these can influence a population to believe in something that reputably is not necessarily true or has yet to be completely verified. However, the CDC is certainly smiling now. I would not run out and get your flu shot based on this or any other article associated with this topic until more credible research is conducted to show an absolute positive correlation between influenza shots and reduced risk of heart diseases. Whenever the word “may” is associated with scientific research it only suggests an assumption. Do your own research and scrutinized everything presented in the media.


Udell JA, Zawi R, Bhatt DL, et al. Association Between Influenza Vaccination and Cardiovascular Outcomes in High-Risk Patients: A Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2013;310(16):1711-1720. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.279206