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Does flu vaccination protect against heart attack? Flu shots reduce the risk of heart attack. British researchers come to this assumption on the basis of a first study that examines the connection between vaccinations and the risk of heart attack. The study, which included 79,000 subjects and 16,000 heart attack patients, showed that a flu shot can reduce the risk of heart attack by 19 percent, although the timing of the vaccination is crucial.
Despite the advantages, only low vaccination rates in the population
The flu season has started. However, despite detailed requests from the health authorities, the Germans are reluctant to be given a flu shot. While hysteria and the corresponding demand for vaccinations were still high last year, relatively few Germans followed the recommendations of the experts this year. Although the health authorities have extended their vaccination recommendation to pregnant women for the first time, in addition to the risk patients to date, many Germans still generally reject a flu vaccination. For no reason, as the experts from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) think, because the advantages of comprehensive vaccination protection among the population are obvious: for example, fewer sick days, lower treatment costs and a significantly reduced risk of transmission of pathogens in the population. The Influenza Association at the Robert Koch Institute estimates that around 2.9 million additional visits to the doctor and 5,300 influenza-related admissions to clinics were necessary during the previous flu season. Around 1.5 million people with influenza had to be written unable to work.
Lower risk of heart attack due to flu vaccination The British researchers' assumption that flu vaccination can also reduce the risk of heart attack opens up a new perspective in the discussion. As part of a case-control study, the scientists examined 79,000 subjects, including 16,000 heart attack patients. The result: Test subjects who received a flu shot were 19 percent less likely to have a heart attack than the control group. The risk of myocardial infarction was reduced most when the vaccination was administered at the beginning of the flu season between September and November. In mathematical terms, there was even a 21 percent lower risk of heart attack for such vaccinations. Subsequent vaccinations still reduced the risk by up to twelve percent. The results so far indicate a connection, but their theses still need to be scientifically verified in the course of further investigations, the researchers explained when the study was presented.
Concerns about side effects It can be doubted whether the presumed reduction in the risk of a heart attack will increase the Germans' willingness to vaccinate. Because the uncertainty among the population due to the swine flu vaccinations in 2009 has not yet subsided. Not only the suspected side effects of the added effect enhancers but also the obvious interest of the manufacturers in the sale of their products is still relatively present. A detailed investigation of the side effects of the potentiator has now shown that complaints such as mild fever, headache or the feeling of sore muscles have occurred more frequently, but serious side effects such as temporary paralysis symptoms did not occur more often than with conventional vaccines, and can hardly reassure those who are unsure . Rather, such statements tend to increase concern about the general side effects of flu vaccines.
Swine flu will reappear Even the warnings of the WHO against the recurrence of swine flu and the indication that the current vaccine protects both against normal flu pathogens and against the swine flu virus H1N1 have so far not been able to significantly increase the vaccination rate in Germany. The targets set by the health authorities for vaccination rates between 50 and 60 percent, as are the norm in Scandinavian countries, remain difficult to achieve in Germany even in the medium term. Even if Reinhard Burger, President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), regularly warns against underestimating influenza, criticizing the far too low vaccination rates among the population and carrying out extensive educational campaigns in cooperation with the various health authorities, vaccination fatigue is among the Germans continues to be widespread.
Health risk should not be underestimated The health risk from a flu illness is not negligible. Peter Wutzler, President of the German Association for Combating Viral Diseases, emphasized: “Influenza is not harmless. We have had 3,000 to 5,000 deaths annually for 20 years. "He believes that vaccination of children, the chronically ill, people over 60 and pregnant women is imperative. In addition, medical personnel should be vaccinated more frequently in the interest of the patients. Critics like the association "Ärzte für Individuelle Demokraten Decision eV" are not fundamentally against preventive vaccinations, but they doubt the undifferentiated discussion in public. In their opinion, the sometimes serious, undesirable side effects, which in individual cases also lead to permanent impairment Too little reported health, because like any medicine, flu vaccines can have such consequences, even if this is relatively rare. According to the association, patients must be fully informed about the possible side effects and should make a vaccination decision depend on whether fact The medical benefit outweighs the possible risk. Ideally, this decision is made together with the doctor you trust. (13.10.2010, fp)
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