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"Pneumonia vaccine prevents heart attacks: study"

Ottawa Citizen

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Published: 07 Oct 2021

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (1 star)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

A vaccine that helps protect against pneumonia can also cut the risk of heart attacks, opening the door to a safe and inexpensive way to prevent thousands of cardiac deaths each year, new research shows.

The vaccine, typically used to protect the elderly against the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia, can lower the rate of heart attacks by as much as 50 per cent, says the study, published in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 2 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

The absence of critical information contributes to the lower rating for this article. But before getting into the details of the missing information, it is necessary to point out that words like "pneumonia" and even "bacterial pneumonia" are vague terms. Without clarifying the precise infection for which the vaccine is made (i.e. Streptococcus pneumoniae), this story does little to free the general public from the widely held notion that all varieties of pulmonary infection are prevented by the "pneumonia vaccine."

While many Citizen readers may not care whether the study was designed with the detection of heart attack risk as the primary outcome (or whether this effect was determined retrospectively), it would be interesting to know these details. Since the evidence was vague and the benefits were not quantified in the report, such questions regarding the research intentions are left unanswered and unclear.

The report did not make any comparative statements, relating the vaccine to other treatment options for heart attack prevention. Even more concerning, however, is the fact that vaccine safety, a critical concern of many readers, is not mentioned anywhere in this report.

Given the amount of people considered high-risk for a heart attack, the topic of this story can impact large number of readers. While the streptococcus pneumoniae vaccine may offer some relief to those at risk, the absence of important treatment information makes it difficult for readers to make an informed medical decision.

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