The flu vaccine appears to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection by 14%. Furthermore, in the event that the infection occurs, there would be a reduction in symptoms and general inflammation and a faster recovery. To give these results is the study of a group of researchers. Experts have been analyzing the effects of the flu vaccine against Sars-CoV-2 since last winter, in an observational study involving Italy, Spain, Israel and the United States.
The results were published in the specialized journal Vaccines and announced at the national congress of the Italian Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics (Sigg). “This result is probably due to the so-called trained immunity, the phenomenon whereby after a vaccination of any kind there is an increase in the immune response in case of contact with another pathogen”, explained the president of Sigg Francesco Landi. In other words, the flu “trains” the immune system which in case of contact with the coronavirus is activated with a greater antiviral response, thus reducing the chances of positivity from Covid.
For geriatricians, the outcome of the study reinforces the Ministry of Health’s recommendation to adhere to the administration of both the flu and Covid vaccines, offered free of charge by the health system. “In 2020, influenza vaccination has increased by 11% and we hope the same will happen this year, to reach the goal of 75% coverage in over 65s and reduce the impact of the flu,” said Stefania. Maggi, from the Neuroscience Institute of the Cnr of Padua.
Influenza affects 40-50% of those at risk each year, including the elderly, and is responsible for eight thousand deaths on average. The virus increases the risk of heart attack ten times and pneumonia eight times that, experts recall. It should not be forgotten that over 60% of hospitalizations for influenza are concentrated among the over 65. “Co-administration of the influenza vaccine with the third dose of anti-Covid is possible and is an excellent shield especially for the frail elderly”, recalls Maggi.