Parents concerned that there isn’t an approved COVID-19 vaccine for children may find some relief knowing that the flu shot has been shown to lessen the risk for symptoms in kids, according to a new study.
After reviewing the vaccination histories of more than 900 children diagnosed with COVID between February and August 2020, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine found that those who received the seasonal flu shot were less likely to experience symptoms, respiratory problems or severe disease.
“It is known that the growth of one virus can be inhibited by a previous viral infection,” says study co-author Dr. Anjali Patwardhan, professor of pediatric rheumatology and child health. “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.”
Patwardhan also found that children who received the pneumococcal vaccine had lower odds of experiencing COVID symptoms.
“Research on the pediatric population is critical because children play a significant role in influencing viral transmission,” Patwardhan says. “Understanding the relationship 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.”