Research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation shows that getting an annual flu shot reduces the risk of premature death from heart failure, particularly in people 65 and older who have compromised circulation and other health complications.
Researchers analyzed data on 135,048 patients with newly diagnosed heart failure followed over 12 years. During that time, flu vaccination rates ranged from 16 percent in 2003 to more than half in 2015. Among the findings:
- Getting the flu shot was associated with an 18-percent reduced risk of premature death, even after accounting for factors such as other health conditions and medications, income, and education.
- People who got the flu shot annually had a 19 percent reduction in all-cause and cardiovascular death compared to those who did not get the shot.
- Getting the flu shot early in the season paid off: Those who were vaccinated in September and October fared better than those who got the shot in November and December.
While this study only looked at patients diagnosed with heart failure, researchers posited that protection from a flu shot probably benefits anyone living with heart failure.