Flu vaccine may reduce risk of heart attack

Researchers at the University of Lincoln in England have announced that it is possible that an influenza vaccine reduced the risk of heart attack by 19 percent in British baby boomers age 40 and older.

Niroshan Siriwardena, of the University of Lincoln, told that he and his colleagues conducted a study that included 78,706 patients. Of those, 16,012 patients had suffered heart attacks from November 1, 2001, to May 31, 2007. Approximately 62,694 were matched controls from the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database.

According to the study results, 53 percent of the people who had a heart attack received the seasonal influenza vaccination the year before. Furthermore, 53 percent of the study controls had received the seasonal flu shot, reports.

"If substantiated, this finding has implications for timely supply and administration of influenza vaccine and could lead to changes in recommendations for timing of vaccination," Siriwardena told

The study showed that the earlier a flu shot was given to a participant in the flu season, the lower the risk for a first heart attack.

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

Researchers also concluded that, while influenza vaccine has nothing to do with the reduced heart attack risk, it reduces the risk of influenza and respiratory infection has been shown to be linked to heart attack.