Researchers suggest the flu virus may trigger other cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – This year’s flu vaccine is already considered much more effective than last year’s.

Now there’s word it could do much more.

A new study finds the flu vaccine can significantly reduce the risk of contracting pneumonia, reports Headlines & Global News.

“We knew that influenza vaccines could prevent fever and respiratory symptoms associated with influenza infections, but whether influenza vaccines could prevent pneumonia, a more serious complication of influenza infection, was unclear,” lead author Dr. Carlos G. Grijalva of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine told Reuters.

The researchers sifted through medical records for 2,767 children and adult patients who were hospitalized for a common strain of pneumonia from 2010 through July 2012.

They compared the cases of flu-associated pneumonia with other pneumonia cases. They found 28 out of 162 patients with flu-associated pneumonia had received the flu vaccine.

The findings indicate that 766 out of 2,605 patients with other strains of the disease had been vaccinated.

Using these figures, the researchers calculated that the flu vaccine is 57 percent effective in preventing pneumonia.

In another study out of Great Britain, researchers showed the chances of suffering a first stroke fell by nearly 20 percent within the first 59 days of getting vaccinated for the flu.

Those chances fell off moderately the more time that passed since getting a flu shot.

Researchers speculate some cardiovascular diseases may be triggered by the flu virus, and any protection against it can also help prevent pneumonia and strokes.

The antibody response against the flu typically lasts four to six months.

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