American Heart Association
American Heart Association
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Parekh T, et al. Abstract P223. Presented at: American Heart Association Scientific Sessions; Nov. 13-17, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Parekh reports no relevant financial disclosures.
November 18, 2020
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Flu vaccination low among young adults with CVD

Source/Disclosures
Source:

Parekh T, et al. Abstract P223. Presented at: American Heart Association Scientific Sessions; Nov. 13-17, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Parekh reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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In 2018, about one-quarter of adults aged 18 to 34 years with CVD received a flu shot and in those with a history of MI only about 20% were vaccinated, researchers reported at the virtual American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

Tarang Parekh

“For people with cardiovascular disease, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect themselves from flu as there is a high risk of having complications or secondary infections,” Tarang Parekh, MBBS, MS, assistant researcher at the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University, told Healio. “We can reduce the risk of this preventable disease and its complications by getting vaccinated routinely.

Flu vaccine
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Researchers assessed 117,978 young adults aged 18 to 44 years from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System who had information on flu vaccination and CVD history, which was defined as a history of MI, angina, congestive heart disease or stroke. Flu vaccination history was defined as a flu shot or vaccine within the previous year.

{In 2018, the overall flu vaccine rate was higher among adults aged 35 to 44 years compared with younger adults aged 18 to 34.

Prevalence of annual flu vaccine by CVD was as follows:

  • Any CVD: 24.7% vs. 24.5% for those without any CVD aged 18 to 34 years and 26.7% vs. 28% for those without any CVD aged 35 to 44 years.
  • History of MI: 19.5% vs. 24.5% for those without MI aged 18 to 34 years and 22.3% vs. 28.1% for those without MI aged 35 to 44 years.
  • History of congestive heart disease/angina: 24.8% vs. 24.5% for those without congestive heart disease/angina aged 18 to 34 years and 30.1% vs. 28% for those without congestive heart disease/angina aged 35 to 44 years.
  • History of stroke: 27.3% vs. 24.5% for those without stroke aged 18 to 34 years and 26.5% vs. 28.1% for those without stroke aged 35 to 44 years.

“There is a dire need to increase the annual flu vaccine rate among young adults with CVD to decrease overall morbidity and mortality,” the researchers wrote in the abstract.

Parekh told Healio there are several ways to improve awareness among cardiologists and the public:

  • reinforce educating adults with CVD that flu can exacerbate their condition or cause complications;
  • explain flu vaccine benefits in reducing the risk for disease severity;
  • recommend flu vaccines to all patients, especially during flu season; and
  • in the current COVID-19 pandemic, bring vaccines to the high-risk population by programs like home visits by medical personnel or creating a national immunization day.

“Our findings emphasize the critical need to conduct studies to identify vaccination barriers and potential ways to address them,” Parekh said. “This is now even more critical, as to achieve a higher vaccination rate by well-targeted outreach interventions when the COVID-19 vaccine comes out.”