A British study widely publicized in various online and print media outlets claims that flu vaccines can reduce the risk of heart attacks by as much as 19 percent. Critics, however, say the study is flawed, and that the “data” in it do not mean what the researchers are telling media.
The study looked at the records of 79,000 patients age 40 or older in England and Wales from 2001 to 2007, and after certain “controls” were factored in, researchers determined that those who’d gotten flu shots had fewer heart attacks. They admitted, however, that “there’s still a debate about whether this is a true link or not,”
Critics agreed that there definitely was a debate, and told USA Today that there were noticeable flaws in the study.
“Dr. Kirk Garratt, associate director of the division of cardiac intervention at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the study found there were 19 percent fewer heart attack patients vaccinated in the previous year, not that there was a 19 percent reduction in heart attacks among the vaccinated,” USA Today said. “If getting a flu shot could prevent 19 percent of heart attacks, it would have been noticed before now,” Garratt added.
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