Children who get a seasonal flu shot could be less likely to suffer symptoms from a covid-19 infection, according to recent research. The study suggests that other vaccines may also prove beneficial in reducing symptoms and complications linked to SARS-CoV-2.
Although covid-19 vaccination programs are now underway in many countries, children are not considered a priority group for inoculation. However, new research from the University of Missouri School of Medicine could encourage parents to get their kids a flu shot in the meantime. In fact, the study suggests that children who get a flu vaccine are less likely to suffer symptoms from a covid-19 infection.
To come to this conclusion, scientists examined the medical records of 905 pediatric patients diagnosed with covid-19 between February and August 2020 to establish each patient's influenza vaccination history. The researchers observed that children with a positive covid-19 diagnosis who received the influenza shot in the current flu season had lower odds of experiencing symptoms, respiratory problems or severe disease.
"It is known that the growth of one virus can be inhibited by a previous viral infection," said Anjali Patwardhan, MD, professor of pediatric rheumatology and child health. "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."
In addition, the researchers found that covid-19-positive children who received the pneumococcal vaccine also had lower odds of experiencing symptomatic disease
"Research on the pediatric population is critical because children play a significant role in influencing viral transmission," the study's lead author continues. "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."
The researchers now hope to explore the link between vaccination and covid-19 symptoms in a larger geographical-multiracial study.