Flu vaccine does not produce specific immunity against COVID-19
The influenza vaccine does not produce specific immunity against COVID-19. However, like any vaccine, it could strengthen non-specific immune responses against other pathogens, experts said in a document released Tuesday by the National Authority for Health Assessment and Accreditation (INEAS) on influenza vaccination in the specific context of the COVID-19 pandemic: interest and priority populations.
According to the same document, a potential co-infection could worsen their prognosis in addition to the risk of amplifying the number of cases of acute respiratory diseases which would put great pressure on the health system.
In addition to reducing mortality and morbidity attributable to influenza, influenza vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic would, according to experts, minimize the negative impact of influenza as well as the pressure on the human body. health system already overloaded by the health crisis and to optimize the consumption of resources.
In view of the pandemic context and given the limited quantity of vaccines available, all the priority groups for influenza vaccination previously defined outside the pandemic context are still relevant with a change in the order of priorities.
Thus, according to the prioritization described by the World Health Organization (WHO), health personnel would be among the highest priority groups in addition to people over the age of 65, especially those with several comorbidities (diabetes, hypertension, asthma and other chronic heart or lung diseases, etc.) followed by those with a single comorbidity. Other risk groups in no particular order are pregnant women, people with chronic diseases and the pediatric population.
According to data from the National Institute of Public Health (INSP), influenza and pneumonia attributable to it are responsible for 2.4% (666 deaths) of all deaths recorded in our country in 2017 against 2% in 2013.
In addition, influenza vaccination in people with COVID-19 upon discharge from hospital could increase vaccination coverage in people at high risk of influenza-related complications. However, experts point out that there is no data to date on the safety, immunogenicity or efficacy of influenza vaccines in people with COVID-19 to determine the optimal timing of influenza vaccination. especially in those with a severe or critical form that required short-acting anti-inflammatory therapy (eg dexamethasone) or long-acting immunomodulators.
Clinicians should consider delaying influenza vaccination of patients with (or suspected) COVID-19 until they recover to reduce the risk of transmission to vaccinators. If influenza vaccination is delayed in such people, patients should be reminded to return for the flu shot after recovering from their acute illness, the document said.
In addition, experts point out that it is essential to ensure the logistics necessary to maintain the barrier measures against the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and to ensure easy and safe access to the vaccine for vulnerable people.