Data reveals that patients with type 2 diabetes who received influenza vaccination seemed to experience fewer hospitalizations due to respiratory infection or cardiovascular events.

“For people with diabetes, an especially high-risk group for influenza-related complications, concerns have been raised about impaired immune response to influenza vaccine,” Eszter P. Vamos, MD, PhD, honorary research fellow at Imperial College London, and colleagues wrote. “A few small clinical trials have tested whether receipt of the influenza vaccine might reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease. However, none of these were adequately powered to assess effects on mortality and specific cardiovascular outcomes.”

To gauge the benefits of influenza vaccination against cardiovascular events and respiratory illness in people with type 2 diabetes, Vamos and colleagues extracted primary and secondary care data from England’s Clinical Practice Research Datalink. They analyzed the outcomes of 124,503 patients with diabetes who visited participating family practices between 2003 and 2010, and compared these to baseline demographic data and influenza vaccination status. The primary outcomes of interest included hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction, stroke, pneumonia or influenza, heart failure and all-cause death.

Within the cohort, overall seasonal influenza uptake ranged from 63.1% to 69%. Those who received vaccine were older, more frequently ill, had more coexisting conditions and more prescriptions; however, they also had lower HbA1c and cholesterol levels.

After adjustment, the researchers found vaccination within this population to be associated with lower admission rates for stroke (incidence RR = 0.7; 95% CI, 0.53-0.91) and heart failure (IRR = 0.78; 95% CI, 0.65-0.92). They saw similar reductions in pneumonia or influenza admissions (IRR = 0.85; 95% CI, 0.74-0.99) and all-cause mortality (IRR = 0.76; 95% CI, 0.65-0.83.). In addition, vaccination was associated with reductions in all of the observed outcomes during the influenza season.

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