effect of flu vaccines in covid
As some experts are saying that children might be more susceptible in the third wave of coronavirus, few health professionals suggest giving influenza shots to children to guard them against it and also said that doctors can begin COVID-19 treatment at an early stage in infected children.
Few of the common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, headache, cold, and are similar to the flu. Recently, a journal was published that was titled ‘The flu vaccination might have a protective effect on the course of Covid-19 in the paediatric population: When does SARS-Cov-2 meet influenza’. It stated that COVID-19 positive children, receiving the influenza vaccine in the flu season, have lesser odds of experiencing symptoms, respiratory complications or severe disease.
Dr Srikanta J T, Consultant in Paediatric Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital, said that flu vaccine shots are against seasonal flu that are caused by the influenza viruses. The mortality rate of influenza is 1 per cent whereas in COVID-19, it is said to be 0.1 per cent. Therefore, it is important for children who are aged between 6 months to 6 years to get the flu shots. It is more important during this Covid pandemic and an approaching third wave, as COVID-19 and influenza infections are more or less similar with fever, coryzal symptoms in children as few kids develop severe infection that requires hospitalization and other supportive care too. As both the infections are similar, it is relevant to protect children with vaccines which are tried and tested.
The price of the influenza flu vaccines is between Rs 1,500-1,690, which might not be affordable to all. Therefore, doctors have suggested that the government should make it available for free of cost in their healthcare facilities. Children with COVID-19 are largely asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, while the seasonal flu is more severe in this presentation, though self-limiting and without any later effects. There can be a situation where kids can be a silent asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19, and spread it further after having a co-infection along with the seasonal flu virus.
These vaccines are routinely recommended for children and are very important during this pandemic. At present, the flu vaccines are available in private clinics and hospitals only and it should be made available free of cost at all government facilities as part of the National Immunization schedule, said Dr Kiran Raghu, Consultant, Paediatrics at Prakriya hospitals.
Dr Bhaskar Shenoy, HoD and Consultant, Paediatrics, Manipal Hospital highlighted that the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar and it is important to safeguard children against the flu. People who get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time can have a more serious infection. Vaccination is the most effective way for preventing influenza and possibly severe complications of the disease