In a new study, researchers have discovered that children who receive a seasonal flu shot are less likely to suffer symptoms from a COVID-19 infection.
The finding comes from a review of more than 900 children diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2020.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.
It is known that the growth of one virus can be inhibited by a previous viral infection.
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 the study, the team reviewed records from 905 pediatric patients diagnosed with COVID-19 between February and August 2020 to determine each patient’s influenza vaccination history.
They discovered the COVID-19 positive children who received the influenza vaccine in the current flu season had lower odds of experiencing symptoms, respiratory problems or severe disease.
They also found that children with COVID-19 who received the pneumococcal vaccine also had lower odds of experiencing the symptomatic disease.
The team says research on the pediatric population is critical because children play a significant role in influencing viral transmission.
Understanding the link 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.
It will also be important to explore the connection between vaccinations and COVID-19 symptoms in a larger geographical-multiracial study.
Based on these findings, the researchers hypothesize that the higher incidence of COVID-19 in minority populations may also reflect their low vaccination rate apart from other health inequalities.
One author of the study is Anjali Patwardhan, MD, professor of pediatric rheumatology and child health.