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The flu shot can stop these severe COVID-19 symptoms

A new study suggests the flu shot can protect you from dangerous COVID-19 symptoms

Tonya Hansen gives a flu shot during a drive-thru flu shot clinic.
Tonya Hansen, a registered nurse with the Utah County Health Department, gives Brooke Barnes a flu shot during a drive-thru flu shot clinic at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. A recent study suggests that the flu shot could protect people against COVID-19 symptoms.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

A recent study suggests that the flu shot could protect people against COVID-19 symptoms.

The study — published in the medical journal PLOS ONE — reviewed more than 37,000 patients who received the flu shot six months to two weeks before they were infected with COVID-19.

The study found that there is a “potential protective effect of influenza vaccination” in COVID-19 patients.

  • In fact, the flu shot can protect patients “against adverse outcomes within 30, 60, 90, and 120 days of a positive diagnosis,” according to the study.
  • The risk of sepsis, stroke, deep vein thrombosis and hospitalization all dropped because of the flu vaccine.

Experts are worried about how the upcoming flu season will mix with the coronavirus outbreak for the winter, especially with fewer mask requirements and social distancing policies in place.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said in September that “we’re in for a whopper” of a flu season.

  • “We haven’t seen a flu season last year — we’re in for a whopper because we haven’t put immunity into the population in at least one and maybe now two years. When the flu does come back, and it will come back, it’s going to come back very aggressively,” he told CNBC Wednesday.
  • The U.S. “hasn’t had much flu immunity in a number of years and so we need to be mindful of that, we could see a situation either this year or next year where you have a really bad flu season,” Gottlieb told CNBC.

Dr. Paul Cieslak, who works with the Oregon Health Authority, told KATU in Oregon that getting the flu shot is an important step to staying safe this winter.

  • “In every respiratory virus season, we worry that some people could get hit with two viruses at once,” he said.
  • “There’s plenty of time to get your flu shot. So, we definitely advise getting it,” Cieslak said.