Fewer Deaths After Flu Vaccine in Type 2 Diabetes Study

The study examined records for more than 124,000 people with type 2 diabetes over a 7-year period.

Having an annual flu vaccination is a public health staple, but new research shows it’s especially important for those with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

The seasonal influenza vaccine may sharply reduce both death rates and hospitalization among those with T2D, according to research from the Imperial College of London.

Eszter Vamos, MD, PhD, and co-authors examined 7 years of data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, involving 124,503 adults with T2D. After adjusting for the fact that those who got vaccines were older and had more comorbidities, they found that getting the vaccine was associated with lower administration rates for stroke, with an incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 0.77; for heart failure, with an IRR of 0.78; and pneumonia or influenza, with an IRR of 0.85.

Those who had the vaccine also had lower rates of all-cause mortality (IRR 0.76), and were less likely to be admitted for a heart attack the flu season (IRR 0.81).

“This study has shown that people with T2D may derive substantial benefits from current vaccines, including protection against hospital admission for some major cardiovascular outcomes,” the authors wrote. “These findings underline the importance of influenza vaccination as part of comprehensive secondary prevention in this high-risk population.”

The authors recommended efforts to boost vaccination rates in the T2D population.

Reference

Vamos EP, Page UJ, Curcin V, et al. Effectiveness of the influenza vaccine in preventing admission to hospital and death in people with type 2 diabetes [published online July 25, 2016]. CMAJ. 2016; doi: 10.1503/cmaj.151059CMAJ