Show me:
Show me:
Have a flu shot to protect your heart
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Have a flu shot to protect your heart

Media Release - 5 May 2020

Most Australians don’t know it, but they are six times more likely to have a heart attack the week after they have had a bout of influenza.

The Heart Foundation is urging Australians to look after their hearts by getting vaccinated before the flu season starts to peak in June.

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that almost 5 million Australian adults do not intend to get their flu shot this year

Heart Foundation Manager, Risk Reduction, Natalie Raffoul, said it was not widely known that influenza can trigger a heart attack, or that a flu shot can protect our hearts.

“International studies have found that the influenza vaccine can cut the risk of having a heart attack by up to 45 percent.

“Catching the flu increases the risk of hospitalisation and death for all Australians but people with heart disease are especially at risk,” Ms Raffoul said.

“If you have heart disease, it is vital that you see your doctor or pharmacist to get a flu shot every year. Getting a case of the flu can cause long-term, irreversible heart problems and can be life-threatening.”
Acute viral infections can cause a severe inflammatory response as the body fights the infection, which can strain the heart and trigger heart failure or an abnormal heartbeat.

The flu can also destabilise the plaque inside your blood vessels, which can lead to a blockage and a possible heart attack or stroke.

Despite the risk, existing published data reveal that only half of Australians living with chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer and stroke, get their regular flu shot.

Australians can get influenza at any time, but the peak flu season runs from June to September.
“The cross over between influenza season and the current COVID-19 pandemic will make it even more important for vulnerable Australians to get their flu shot in a timely fashion,” Ms Raffoul said. 

The Federal Government’s National Immunisation Program provides free vaccines to those most at risk, including people living with heart disease, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and those over 65 years.

For more information about heart health visit heartfoundation.org.au/covid19

Media enquiries

Suzanne McKenzie, Senior Media Adviser
M: 0434 691 461 E: Suzanne.mckenzie@heartfoundation.org.au

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

If you're 45 and over, or 30 and over if you're of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you should book your Heart Health Check today...

Heart Week 2022

Heart Week 2022

Heart Week 2022

With one Australian having a heart attack or stroke every 4 minutes, you have the power to change this statistic. ...

Health Professional Tools

Health Professional Tools

Health Professional Tools

Guidelines, publications and support for the health professional community....

Together, we can change the future of heart disease

Together, we can change the future of heart disease

Together, we can change the future of heart disease

The power of your ongoing support can help save lives and keep more families together. Help us continue to fund promising heart research projects by donating today. ...

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Asian (Chilli, soy and sesame) dressing

Asian (Chilli, soy and sesame) dressing

Asian (Chilli, soy and sesame) dressing

10 minutes
Serves 12 (1 tablespoon)

Moroccan vegetarian tray bake

Moroccan vegetarian tray bake

Moroccan vegetarian tray bake

30 minutes
Serves 4

Heart health submissions to Government

Heart health submissions to Government

Every day we are lobbying government and industry to improve heart health....

Chilli and garlic prawn spaghetti

Chilli and garlic prawn spaghetti

Chilli and garlic prawn spaghetti

15 minutes
Serves 2

Permanent Pacemaker (PPM)

Permanent Pacemaker (PPM)

A small, battery-powered device that is fitted under the skin of your upper chest....

How your heart works

How your heart works

How your heart works

Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood to all parts of your body. The blood gives your body the oxygen and nourishment it needs to work properly. ...

Using nanotechnology to treat cardiovascular disease

Using nanotechnology to treat cardiovascular disease

Associate Professor Shane Thomas, Institution: University of New South Wales...

Lessons learned: recovering from open heart surgery

Lessons learned: recovering from open heart surgery

Lessons learned: recovering from open heart surgery

After having five open heart surgeries between the ages of 13 and 41, Peter knows a thing or two about recovery....

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab is proven to keep you out of hospital and reduce your risk of death from heart conditions....

Meatloaf

Meatloaf

40-50 minutes
Serves 6

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Know what your heart medicines are for and how to take them. ...

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a condition where your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be....

WEBINAR | Pressure rising: Clinical controversies and updates in hypertension

WEBINAR | Pressure rising: Clinical controversies and updates in hypertension

WEBINAR | Pressure rising: Clinical controversies and updates in hypertension

Q&A with Professor Jonathan Golledge

Q&A with Professor Jonathan Golledge

A program to reduce complications and improve quality of life in people with blocked leg arteries...

Heart failure resources for patients

Heart failure resources for patients

Educate your patients on everything they need to know about heart failure and managing their condition ...

For professionals: Cardiovascular disease risk assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 

For professionals: Cardiovascular disease risk assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 

Recommendations for assessing Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples ...

$2 million for cardiovascular research targeting diet, physical activity and mental health

$2 million for cardiovascular research targeting diet, physical activity and mental health

$2 million for cardiovascular research targeting diet, physical activity and mental health

Media Release - 23 June 2021...

Atrial fibrillation resources for patients

Atrial fibrillation resources for patients

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Explore the Heart Foundation’s guide on what to expect in the first month after your heart attack. ...

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

One of the most powerful ways to help support a future without heart disease is to include a gift to the Heart Foundation in your Will...

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. Get the facts on quitting and how it can help you recover. ...

Action Plans

Action Plans

Action Plans

Recovery is a long journey, so having a plan makes a huge difference. Using an action plan gives you a step-by-step guide to improving your lifestyle....

Future Leader Fellowship

Future Leader Fellowship

Stipend and project support funding for the best and brightest in cardiovascular research. ...

Research Directory

Research Directory