The flu vaccination this year has started earlier than planned due to the pandemic situation where we are. The health authorities decided this way to avoid possible complications if a person was infected with the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.
Faced with the health crisis that we are currently experiencing in the world, the experts decided to modify the antidote to the influenza virus (flu) and make it a little more resistant to the disease, adding four types of virus to increase your immunization capacity.
Vaccine with four types of viruses
For several years, flu vaccines have been trivalent, that is, they protected against three different viruses: two influenza A viruses (H1N1 and H3N2) and one influenza B virus. To improve the protection of the individual and avoid a more serious state of health in case of contracting influenza and coronavirus at the same time, lScientists have added one more variant of influenza B to the “traditional” vaccine.
In this way, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Adding another B virus to the vaccine is intended to provide a broader level of protection against circulating influenza viruses.”
Some immunity to COVID-19
In the last days, dutch researchers have concluded that the flu vaccine produces a small immunity also against coronavirus, so this drug could protect individuals up to 39% of the risk of being infected by SARS-CoV-2.
“Using an in vitro research method we have shown that the inactivated quadrivalent vaccine used in the Netherlands in the 2019-2020 flu season can induce an immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, we found that SARS-CoV-2 infection was less common among Dutch hospital employees who had received the flu vaccine “, the researchers reported in their study.
This research has yet to be reviewed in order to be published in a scientific journal, although Other epidemiological studies have also pointed to cross protection between vaccination against the flu virus and COVID-19: “LInactivated quadrivalent influenza vaccine induces trained immunity in an established in vitro model, which results in a better response capacity of the immune cells to the stimulation of SARS-CoV-2 “, the study has concluded.
Don’t let your guard down
Despite being very good news, there are experts who ask that your guard not be lowered, since this vaccine is specifically to protect against the flu: “As we are, we must be aware that the flu vaccine only protects against the flu, anything else still has a long scientific journey to be confirmed”, has indicated Amos García Rojas, president of the Spanish Society of Vaccination in statements collected by NIUS.
García asks that, given this news, the population does not trust and continue to respect the protection measures established by the authorities: “This news can create a lack of security. The mechanisms of effective ways that we are using to protect ourselves against SARS-CoV-2 (masks, hand washing, social distance) will also allow us to protect ourselves from the flu “, added the expert.
The vaccine protects exclusively against the flu, despite offering some immunity to COVID-19
Therefore, the quadrivalent flu vaccine may protect against COVID-19 in some way, but not in its entirety. Let’s not forget that This drug is created exclusively to defend the body from the influenza virus. Thus, It is recommended that individuals receiving the flu vaccine do not think they are immune and continue to use the same protective measures as before receiving the injection.
It is also important that, given this news, there are no massive requests to get vaccinated against the flu due to a possible immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 disease. Doses are very limited and there are population groups that need it because they are more vulnerable to the two infections.
We remember that people most vulnerable to both diseases are those who should be vaccinated first, like individuals older than 65 years, pregnant women, people with previous pathologies, health personnel or those suitable with patients at risk.
The 2020-2021 season goal in matters of the flu vaccine is reach 75% coverage for those over 65 and the health personnel; and from 60% for pregnant women and people at risk.