MU study shows flu vaccine lessens COVID-19 symptoms in children

Research at the University of Missouri shows that children who received the annual flu vaccine were less likely to show severe symptoms of COVID-19 if infected.

March 19, 2021


Brian Consiglio: As adults are currently getting vaccines, more research is still being done to better understand their safety and effectiveness for children, but a new study from the University of Missouri suggests that getting the flu vaccine can actually lessen children’s chances of having symptoms in the event they become infected with covid-19.

Dr. Anjali Patwardhan is a pediatric rheumatologist at MU Health Care. She says she was inspired to pursue the study because of her experiences at work.

Patwardham: “I saw in the clinics and in the hospital that the patients who were vaccinated did better generally. So, I decided to collect data on them. The odds of having a severe disease or odds of having a symptomatic disease was less in children who had a flu vaccination.”

Consiglio: Patwardhan reviewed the charts of over 900 patients 20 years old and younger who were diagnosed with COVID-19. The findings suggest that those who received the flu vaccine in the current flu season were less likely to have severe symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory problems as well.

Patwardhan said this could be because the growth of new viruses might be inhibited by a prior viral infection. This phenomenon is called viral interference. It can even occur when the prior viral infection is an inactivated virus, like the flu vaccine.

I’m Brian Consiglio, with a Spotlight on Mizzou.


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