What are your concerns?

close
Inaccurate
Hard to understand
Other

Or copy link

New

Are Flu Vaccines Effective in COVID-19 Prevention?

Are Flu Vaccines Effective in COVID-19 Prevention?

COVID-19 is a highly infectious virus that is causing mass infections in communities all over the globe. The good news is, scientists have already made vaccines that are being deployed worldwide. This is a big step in preventing, and eventually stopping, the spread of the coronavirus. However, what will happen when not enough vaccines can reach these countries? What if the COVID-19 vaccine is unavailable? Do we have any alternatives for preventing the spread of the virus? And what role do pneumonia and flu vaccines play?

Is It Okay to Get Flu Vaccines For COVID-19 Prevention?

Before anything, it should be made clear that flu vaccines do not work in preventing COVID-19. Even then, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the need for taking the seasonal flu vaccine has grown. The reason for this is simple: although these vaccines may not prevent COVID-19, they do reduce the likelihood of catching the flu, and getting sent to the hospital. The flu can also be deadly for vulnerable populations, such as the young and the elderly.

In relation to COVID-19, fewer flu cases means that hospitals and healthcare professionals can focus on COVID-19 as the load to the healthcare system is reduced. Remember, the flu vaccine not only prevents you from getting sick, it also reduces the transmission of the disease to others.

Pneumonia Vaccines and Preventing COVID-19 Co-Infection

Pneumonia vaccines, on the other hand, may prove to have a benefit in the fight against COVID-19. Why? Unlike the flu vaccine, pneumonia vaccines may actually play a role in preventing severe COVID-19.

In a study by Kaiser Permanente, data showed that one type of pneumonia vaccine, PCV13, positively affects the outcome of COVID-19 in the elderly.

The research by Dr. Sara Y. Tartof in the Kaiser Permanente study showed that those who received pneumonia vaccines were less likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. And when these vaccinated people were diagnosed with COVID-19, they were less likely to experience severe symptoms.

In the Kaiser Permanente study, the 65-year olds who received PCV13 showed:

  • 35% lower incidence of COVID-19 diagnosis
  • 32% lower incidence of hospitalization due to COVID-19
  • 32% lower incidence of death due to COVID-19

More research still needs to be done, but these studies show that the pneumonia vaccine can provide an additional layer of protection. Similar to how a cold or the flu may lead to pneumonia, COVID-19 may also result in complications like a pneumonia co-infection. Pneumococcal infections have long been known to interact with viruses like influenza. And the pneumonia vaccine protects against complications such as these.

Is It Okay To Use Pneumonia Vaccine As An Alternative To COVID-19 Vaccines?

Despite pneumonia vaccines showing efficacy in the reduction of severe COVID-19 cases, it is not a good idea to use this vaccine as a replacement or alternative to COVID-19 vaccines. It is best to get a COVID-19 vaccine to receive protection from the coronavirus.

Are There COVID-19 Treatments Other Than Vaccines?

There is currently no cure for COVID-19. There are, however, a number of treatments that are currently in development. These recent discoveries have shown some promising results.

Some of these treatments are:

  • Remdesivir (antiviral drug, FDA-approved) – This drug is effective in providing faster recovery for those with COVID-19.
  • Dexamethasone (common steroid) – Health experts have discovered that this steroid has reduced the likelihood of people succumbing to COVID-19, especially for those who are severely affected by the virus.

Key Takeaway

Although taking the pneumonia and flu vaccines is purely voluntary, the CDC highly encourages vaccination. If for instance, a country cannot achieve widespread COVID-19 vaccination, then it is best to practice health protocols and get vaccinated for the flu and pneumonia while waiting for COVID-19 vaccines to be deployed and administered.

It’s important to remember: Despite pneumonia vaccines showing efficacy in the reduction of severe COVID-19 cases, it is not a good idea to use this vaccine as a replacement or alternative to COVID-19 vaccines. It is best to get a COVID-19 vaccine to receive protection from the coronavirus.

Learn more about Infectious Diseases here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Flu vaccine, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccine-benefits.htm, Accessed July 15, 2021

Pneumonia vaccine, https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/our-story/health-research/news/pneumonia-vaccine-may-affect-course-of-covid-19, Accessed July 15, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine, https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/our-story/health-research/news/pneumonia-vaccine-may-affect-course-of-covid-19, Accessed July 15, 2021

A Guide to Global COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts, https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/guide-global-covid-19-vaccine-efforts, Accessed July 15, 2021

Joseph A Lewnard, Katia J Bruxvoort, Heidi Fischer, Vennis X Hong, Lindsay R Grant, Luis Jódar, Bradford D Gessner, Sara Y Tartof, Prevention of COVID-19 among older adults receiving pneumococcal conjugate vaccine suggests interactions between Streptococcus pneumoniae and SARS-CoV-2 in the respiratory tract, The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiab128, Accessed May 11, 2021

Pawlowski et al, Exploratory analysis of immunization records highlights decreased SARS-CoV-2 rates in individuals with recent non-COVID-19 vaccinations, https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.27.20161976v2.full.pdf, Accessed May 11, 2021

Picture of the authorbadge
Written by Honey Buenaventura Updated Apr 21
Medically reviewed by Michael Henry Wanat