Getting a flu vaccine slashes the risk of falling severely ill with Covid, a study has suggested.
An analysis of nearly 75,000 coronavirus patients found those who received an annual influenza jab were 60 per cent less likely to end up in A&E compared to people not vaccinated against flu.
People vaccinated with flu between two weeks and six months before getting Covid also appear to be protected against nasty complications linked to the virus.
They were up to 60 per cent less likely to have a stroke, sepsis or blood clots compared to unvaccinated patients.
The study authors say their findings suggest that providing the flu shot could provide increased protection to people in countries where Covid vaccine supplies are limited.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
However, the study which used patient data from the US, UK and other countries, did not find having a flu vaccine reduced patients’ chance of dying from Covid.
The study authors, from the University of Miami, said it was not clear why having a flu jab offers some protection from Covid.
But they pointed to previous research which showed vaccines can boost the body’s innate immune system, improving its overall defences against disease.
The study comes as the UK government considers offering Covid vaccine boosters alongside a winter flu vaccine programme from September onwards and making flu vaccination a condition of deployment for NHS staff.
No10 has already made Covid jabs mandatory in care homes to protect elderly and frail residents who are most at risk of getting severely ill with the virus.
Getting a flu vaccine slashes the risk of falling severely ill with Covid. Researchers believe the jab boosts the body’s innate immune system, improving its overall defences against disease (stock image)
The Miami researchers analysed medical records of 74,754 Covid patients, splitting them into two groups of 37,377.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
These groups were closely mirrored to each other to account for factors that could affect their risk of severe Covid symptoms, such as age, gender, ethnicity, smoking status.
They also looked at health problems such as diabetes, obesity and lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties to ensure these did not influence the study findings.
Fifteen adverse events, such as sepsis, strokes, deep vein thrombosis, were spotted in the group who tested positive for Covid.
Number 10 plans for a potential September Covid vaccine booster program would see a third dose of the vaccine offered alongside a flu jab to the following priority group, known as Stage 1:
- All those 16 years and over who have a condition affecting their immune system and/or are considered clinically extremely vulnerable
- People who live in a residential care home for older adults
- All adults aged 70 years and older
- All frontline health and social care workers
This group would then be followed by a group known as Stage 2 which includes:
- All adults aged 50 years and older
- All those aged between 16 and 49 years of age who are in an influenza or COVID-19 risk group
- Adults who are a household contact of an immunosuppressed individual
This potential rollout, created by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation at the request of the UK government, is not finalised and could be subject to changes in the coming months as more scientific data becomes available.
This includes data from clinical trials on immune responses following a third Covid vaccination.
They found that those who had been jabbed against flu were 58 per cent more likely to have a stroke, 45 per cent more likely to get sepsis, and 40 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis.
Unvaccinated patients were also 58 per cent more likely to be sent to an emergency department for treatment and 20 per cent more likely to be admitted to an intensive-care-unit.
It's unclear whether any of the participants had also been vaccinated against Covid, which would have significantly boosted their outcomes.
While stating more research needs to be done University of Miami Miller School of Medicine professor of plastic surgery and senior author in the study