Flu Shot Not Associated with Increased Risk of COVID-19, Study Finds

Joe Zein, MD, comments on research showing flu vaccination is not associated with increased risk, or severity, of COVID-19.

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CLEVELAND – There’s one more reason to get a flu shot this year.

Recent research suggests getting a flu vaccine does not increase risk for COVID-19.

“Our results showed that patients who received influenza vaccine were not at higher risk of being hospitalized, being admitted to the intensive care unit, or dying from COVID-19,” said the study’s lead author, Joe Zein, MD, of Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Zein and his colleagues wanted to see if flu vaccination had any impact on COVID-19 infection.

They analyzed data from over 13,000 COVID-19 tests and compared people who had received a flu vaccine, to those who had not.

Results show influenza vaccination was not associated with increased occurrence of COVID-19, or with more severe cases of the disease.

Flu vaccine didn’t appear to offer any protection against coronavirus, either.

“Our surprise was that we don’t think this really can prevent COVID but at least it does not make COVID any worse,” said Dr. Zein.

Dr. Zein notes that last year COVID-19 occurred in the spring of 2020, while people received the influenza vaccine in the fall of 2019.

He said it will be important to continue collecting data this year as people will receive the flu vaccine at the same time as COVID-19 is circulating.

The good news is that a flu shot is safe to receive in the midst of COVID-19– and during a pandemic it’s important to prevent what we can.

So, Dr. Zein encourages everyone get a flu vaccine.

Complete results can be found in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science.

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