SYDNEY, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The influenza vaccine can almost halve the chances of a heart attack for people aged 50 to 64, who are at risk for heart disease, according to a new Australian study revealed on Thursday.
The study has been published in the international journal Heart.
Researchers from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) found the link after examining more than 500 patients at Westmead Hospital in Sydney's west.
Lead author of the study Professor Raina MacIntyre from UNSW said the flu vaccine reduces the risk of heart attack.
"It has a protective effect of a 45 percent reduction of the risk of heart attack," MacIntyre said.
"What we were able to do is to compare the vaccination rates and the heart attack rates between people and measure vaccine effectiveness."
MacIntyre said the potential population health impact of influenza vaccination should be further explored.
"Heart attack is the leading cause of death in Australia, and in the world in fact, so there is potentially a significant population health impact from a vaccine that can reduce the risk of heart attack," she said.