Coronavirus: The vaccine that protects against a serious infection – Not what you imagine!

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Coronavirus: The vaccine that protects against a serious infection - Not what you imagine!

People who were vaccinated with the flu during the previous season of the flu are significantly less likely to get the serious illness from COVID-19 and be admitted for treatment, according to new findings.

People who got the flu vaccine last winter were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 during a pandemic, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan.

These new findings, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, show that doctors should continue to recommend flu vaccination to their patients, despite the fact that we are gradually emerging from the traditionally dangerous period of an influenza outbreak.

The researchers reviewed the medical records of more than 27,000 patients who were positive for coronavirus between March and July 2020. As it turned out, of the nearly 13,000 who received the flu vaccine last year, 4% were positive for COVID-19, while of the 14,000 who had not been vaccinated, about 5% were diagnosed positive. The correlation remained significant after testing for other variables such as ethnicity, gender, age, Body Mass Index, smoking, and comorbidities.

In addition, people who had the flu vaccine were significantly less likely to need hospitalization, although the researchers found no significant difference in mortality between the two groups. It is noted that none of the participants were diagnosed positive for both infections at the same time, with lead author Marion Hofmann Bowman stressing that the underlying mechanism behind this correlation is not yet clear.

“It is possible that the patients who get the flu vaccine are also people who follow the instructions for social distance and mask use. However, it also makes sense that there should be a direct biological effect of the flu vaccine on the immune system in the fight against SARS-CoV-2,” explains the associate professor of medicine at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center at the University of Michigan.

“It is important to offer healthcare providers another tool to encourage their patients to take advantage of available, effective, and safe immunization options. Instead of an alarming link between COVID-19 and the flu vaccine that emerged in the early days of the pandemic, our study provides confidence that the flu vaccine is associated with eliminating the need for COVID-19 hospitalization,” adds Dr. Carmel Ashur.

Finally, researchers have found another encouraging link between the flu vaccine and its protective effects on cardiovascular health. 

“There is strong evidence that the flu vaccine prevents heart attacks and hospitalization for heart failure, adding another reason to take it every winter,” the researchers concluded.