Kids who receive a flu shot are less likely to develop COVID-19 symptoms

COLUMBIA, Mo. — It appears the flu vaccine may indeed provide some protection against COVID-19 symptoms, at least for children. Researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia report kids who receive a seasonal flu shot are less likely to develop coronavirus symptoms.

Data collected from 905 coronavirus-diagnosed children was examined to reach this notable conclusion.

“It is known that the growth of one virus can be inhibited by a previous viral infection,” says Dr. Anjali Patwardhan, professor of pediatric rheumatology and child health, in a release. “This phenomenon is called virus interference, and it can occur even when the first virus invader is an inactivated virus, such as the case with the flu vaccine.”

After reviewing pediatric COVID records dated between February and August 2020, study authors noticed that coronavirus-positive kids who had been given a flu shot were experiencing symptoms at much lower rates than other adolescents. Similarly, kids who received the pneumococcal vaccine also had lower odds of experiencing symptoms.

“Research on the pediatric population is critical because children play a significant role in influencing viral transmission,” Patwardhan adds. “Understanding the relationship and co-existence of other viruses alongside COVID-19 and knowing the vaccination status of the pediatric patient may help in deploying the right strategies to get the best outcomes.”

These findings carry major implications regarding the containment of the pandemic. As such, Patwardhan says further research on the impact of various vaccines on COVID-19 symptoms across demographics (age, race, gender, etc) is absolutely warranted.

“Based on these findings, we hypothesize that the higher incidence of COVID-19 in minority populations may also reflect their low vaccination rate apart from other health inequalities,” Patwardhan concludes.

The study is published in Cureus.