The influenza vaccine does not produce specific immunity against COVID-19. This means that it could enhance non-specific immune responses against other pathogens. This is what the experts revealed in a document published Tuesday by the National Body for Health Assessment and Accreditation (ineat).
The flu vaccination comes in the particular context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the same document, a potential co-infection could worsen their prognosis. Besides the risk of amplifying the number of cases of acute respiratory diseases. This would put a lot of pressure on the health system.
In addition to reducing influenza mortality and morbidity, influenza vaccination during the pandemic COVID-19 would, according to experts, minimize the negative impact of influenza. As well as the pressure on the 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 65. In particular those with several comorbidities (diabetes, hypertension, asthma and other chronic heart or lung diseases, etc.). Followed by those presenting 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.
Flu shots for people with COVID-19
In addition, influenza vaccination in people with COVID-19 upon discharge from hospital could increase vaccination coverage. Especially in people at high risk of complications from influenza. However, experts point out that there is no data to date on the safety, immunogenicity or effectiveness of influenza vaccines in people with COVID-19 to determine the optimal time for influenza vaccination. Especially in those suffering from a severe or critical form requiring a short-acting anti-inflammatory treatment. For example, dexamethasone or long-acting immunomodulators.
Clinicians should consider delaying influenza vaccination for patients with (or suspected) COVID-19 until they recover. This is to reduce the risk of transmission to vaccinators. If influenza vaccination is delayed in these individuals, patients should be reminded to return for influenza vaccination. And this after recovering from their acute illness, the document says.
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 this in order to guarantee easy and secure access to the vaccine for vulnerable people.