Colorful Heart Indicator Pixabay

Now is the time to encourage people to get their annual flu shots, a universal approach to enhancing community immunity. Influenza is associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Like everyone else, people who are living with heart disease or have had a stroke should take everyday preventive actions, such as avoiding people who are sick, covering sneezes and coughs and washing hands often.

The overall burden of influenza (flu) for the 2021-2022 season was an estimated 9 million flu illnesses, 4 million flu-related medical visits, 100,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 5,000 flu deaths. The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the importance of receiving an influenza vaccine, especially for those living with high-risk medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease. Persons with heart disease are at higher risk for developing serious complications from influenza, and many of those with serious heart conditions are also at increased risk of severe illness.

The flu vaccine is a once-a-year strategy for cardiovascular disease prevention. An inactivated or recombinant flu vaccine is usually recommended for people with heart disease. It is safe to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (or booster) and the flu vaccine at the same time if a person is eligible for both. Learn more.getting vaccinated for heart health

If you do not offer vaccine at your facility, make a flu vaccine referral and then follow up with each patient during subsequent appointments to ensure they got vaccinated. If the patient remains unvaccinated, repeat the recommendation/referral and try to identify and address any questions or concerns.

  1. Past seasons estimated influenza disease burden: 2019-2020 (CDC website). Accessed 11/21/2022.

To learn more about vaccines, check out our podcast, Q-Tips For Your Ears

Episode 3, Vaccines – History, Choice and What We Should Know: Understand the history of vaccines, vaccine safety, and why vaccines are important and how vaccines improve health in the community. Take a few minutes to listen and learn more.