Flu Shot May Help Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Avoid Hospitalization, Death

Pharmacy Times, October 2016 Diabetes, Volume 82, Issue 10

Patients with T2D who get the flu shot may have a reduced risk for hospitalization related to cardiovascular or respiratory issues.

Patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) who get the flu shot may have a reduced risk for hospitalization related to cardiovascular or respiratory issues, recent study results suggest.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, analyzed 7 years’ worth of flu-season data on nearly 125,000 patients with T2D seen in primary care clinics. They found that individuals who received the flu shot were 30% less likely to be admitted to the hospital for stroke, 22% less likely to be admitted for heart failure, and 15% less likely to be admitted for pneumonia or influenza than their unvaccinated counterparts. In addition, patients who received the flu shot also had a 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality.

Previous research has shown that individuals at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, patients with chronic health conditions (eg, asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease), and those 65 years and older.

“The potential impact of influenza vaccine to reduce serious illness and death highlight[s] the importance to renew efforts to ensure that people with diabetes receive the flu vaccine every year,” lead author Eszter Vamos, PhD, told Reuters Health.

The researchers noted one study limitation: those who opt to get the flu shot may be healthier overall, meaning they already had a reduced risk for hospitalization or death. However, the researchers emphasized that preventing the flu is the best form of protection for patients with chronic conditions.