Flu vaccine can reduce stroke risk by 24 percent, a latest study states.
Researchers at the University of Lincoln and the University of Nottingham in t he United Kingdom, studied the medical records of over 47, 000 survivors of one stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA) from 2001 to 2009.
They examined the data collected from the National General Practice Research Database, which is currently called the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. The study authors observed the flu vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine in relation to stroke risk.
The study results showed that those who vaccinated themselves against flu had 24 percent less chances of getting a stroke. They also found that the flu shots taken early season were most effective.
However, the results showed that the flu vaccine did not affect TIA risk. The researchers also did not find any effects of pneumococcal vaccination on stroke or TIA risk.
"The causes of stroke are not fully understood. Classical risk factors like age, smoking and high blood pressure can account for just over half of all cases. We know that cardiovascular diseases tend to hit during winter and that the risks may be heightened by respiratory infections such as flu," lead researcher Niro Siriwardena, who is a Professor of Primary and Pre-hospital Healthcare in the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Lincoln, said in a press release.
The researchers noted that flu vaccination brought down stroke incidents in the season. "Our study showed a highly significant association between flu vaccination and reduced risk of stroke within the same flu season. The results were consistent with our previous research into heart attack risk."
"Further experimental studies would be needed to better understand the relationship between flu vaccination and stroke risk. However, these findings reinforce the value of the UK's national flu vaccination program with reduced risk of stroke appearing to be an added health benefit," Siriwardena said.
The study, 'Influenza and pneumococcal vaccination and risk of stroke or transient ischemic attack-Matched case control study,' was published in the journal, Vaccine.