Should you get the flu vaccine this year? I am getting this million dollar question/crystal ball question over and over so I thought I would share some information I have found on this topic. As most of you know, I am not an anti-vaccine person but do consider the risks seriously before jumping on the bandwagon. I have always said if you are high risk or someone in your immediate household is high risk if they get the flu for an adverse outcome then it is a good idea to get one.
For those of you on the fence, I wanted to find some facts to help you make up your mind on whether a vaccine is appropriate for you. Literature on the flu and CoVID is thin for now. I am sure more will be coming out in the near future as flu season ramps up. In the meantime there was a nice retrospective analysis of 92,000 patients who had COVID in Brazil that does give some insight to this question. READ ON to learn more about the flu vaccine and COVID….
Brazil has been hit by COVID in a similar manner to every other country. Men were affected more often (57% of the cases), most individuals were in the age group of 60-69. Mortality rate was 15% in the under 10 age group and 83% in the 90 and above age group. 66% had cardiovascular disease and 55% had diabetes. No surprises in these numbers.
One third of these people had received the flu shot prior to getting COVID so they evaluated the outcomes of these people and compared them to the rest. Their analysis reported that mortality was lower in all age groups that had the flu vaccine. Overall, the odds of dying of COVID-19 with the flu vaccine lowered by 35%. They actually looked further into adjusting for the multiple health variables (like diabetes and cardiovascular disease) and still found the flu vaccine contributed to a DECREASED incidence of mortality from COVID. In addition, people who had the flu shot had 8% lower odds of needing intensive care and about 20% fewer odds of requiring ventilator support. The lower the age group the more of a difference it made (the above 90 age group only saw a 3% decreased incidence). FYI the flu vaccine in the study was a trivalent Influenza vaccine.
There was also some evidence to support there was enhanced recovery for those who had the flu vaccine and COVID. I won’t get into the theories of why they think the flu vaccine helps offer some protection but if you want to read the study here is the link.
I am going to be watching for more literature on this topic but for now this is what we have to go on. I hope this helps!
To your health,