It may seem like we just finished the last flu season, but the statistical reality is that the next one is upon us. That means it’s time for you to start beating the vaccination drum again. You can expect the same misinformed objections from patients—the vaccine doesn’t work or can actually give you the flu; vaccines cause autism in children; the flu is no worse than a bad cold…. That last one may be the easiest to counter with fresh information, though, especially when new data keep coming out to illustrate how systemic the serious consequences (including death) of influenza can be. The latest were just presented at the 2019 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Paris. Researchers there reported findings showing that influenza infection is linked directly to increased risk for stroke and acute myocardial infarction. This was especially true among hypertensive patients—who are already at increased risk for cardiovascular events. Their study reflects the care of 608,452 patients with hypertension over flu seasons from 2007 through 2016. In the overall study population, 286,829 patients had received at least one flu shot. After a median follow-up of five influenza seasons, the rate for all-cause death was 3.5% (2% for cardiovascular death, and 0.6% for stroke or acute MI). Risk for all-cause death was reduced by 18% among vaccinated individuals. Risk reduction for cardiovascular death was almost as strong—a 16% improvement. Risk for stroke or acute MI was reduced by 10%. Share this potentially lifesaving information with all patients who resist a flu shot, but especially those with hypertension.
Remind Antivaxx Patients that Flu Shots Can Save Them from Cardiovascular Death