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Flu and pneumonia vaccines linked to fewer heart failure deaths

Researchers say these vaccines come with minimal side effects and offer several health benefits to consumers

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A new study conducted by researchers from the European Society of Cardiology found that getting the flu or pneumonia vaccine can lower the risk of death for those who experience heart failure. The team found that such vaccines are effective at protecting consumers’ health and increasing longevity. 

“Pneumonia and flu vaccines are vital to preventing these respiratory infections and protecting patients with heart failure,” said researcher Dr. Karthik Gonuguntla. “Although many people have rejected common and safe vaccines before COVID-19, I am optimistic that the pandemic has changed perceptions about the role of immunizations in safeguarding our health.” 

Benefits of the vaccines

The researchers analyzed data from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS), which included information from nearly three million patients with heart failure who had been hospitalized between 2010 and 2014. Based on those who had been vaccinated for the flu or pneumonia, the researchers assessed their medical outcomes to determine the effectiveness of the vaccines. 

While less than two percent of the participants received either the flu or pneumonia vaccine, the researchers learned that those who did get vaccinated lived longer. The study revealed that more than 3.5 percent of patients with heart failure who hadn’t received either vaccine died in-hospital, compared to 1.3 percent of patients who received the flu vaccine and 1.2 percent of patients who received the pneumonia vaccine. 

These findings highlight how critical these vaccines may be for those with heart issues. However, they also shed a light on how few heart failure patients are actually getting vaccinated. The researchers hope that these findings inspire more consumers with heart failure to protect themselves against these respiratory conditions, as it could be life-saving. 

“Our study provides further impetus for annual immunizations in patients with heart failure,” said Dr. Gonuguntla. “Despite advice to do so, uptake remains low. Although large administrative databases like the NIS are prone to containing some errors, the data indicate that there is some distance to go before reaching 100 percent coverage.” 

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