New research has shown that the annual flu vaccine may cut the risk of stroke, sepsis and blood clots in patients suffering from Covid-19.
According to researchers from the University of Miami in Florida, US, patients with Covid-19 who had been vaccinated against flu were impacted less heavily by Covid-19. The researchers said these people were less likely to visit the emergency room or get admitted to the intensive care.
Influenza Vaccine not a Replacement for Covid-19 Vaccine
At the same time, patients who had not taken the flu jab were as much as 20 percent more likely to get admitted to ICU. They were also up to 58 per cent more likely to to visit the Emergency Department. The chances of getting sepsis was up by more than 45 percent and getting a stroke was up to 58 percent more likely.
"Influenza vaccination may even benefit individuals hesitant to receive a Covid-19 vaccine due to the newness of the technology .. Despite this, the influenza vaccine is by no means a replacement for the Covid-19 vaccine and we advocate for everyone to receive their Covid-19 vaccine if able to," said Susan Taghioff from the University's Miller School of Medicine, according to IANS.
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It isn't known exactly how the flu jab provides protection against Covid-19 but most theories centre around it boosting the innate immune system -- "general" defences we are born with that are not tailored to any particular illness, said the researchers.
The study shows that flu shot could be used to help provide increased protection in countries where the Covid-19 vaccine is in short supply, however it is not a substitute for Covid vaccinations, they added.
For the study, the team screened de-identified electronic health records of more than 70 million patients to identify two groups of 37,377 patients from countries including the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Israel and Singapore.
Members of the first group had received the flu vaccine between two weeks and six months before being diagnosed with Covid-19. Those in the second group also had Covid-19 but were not vaccinated against flu.
The study was presented at the ongoing European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) taking place online between July 9 and 12.