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Flu shot linked to less severe COVID-19 infections: Report

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Those people who got a flu shot ahead of the 2019-20 flu season were reportedly less likely to suffer from severe COVID-19 requiring emergency room services, according to ABC News, citing a new report from medical journal Plos One.

What are the details?

New research states that people who got a flu shot may be "less likely to suffer a severe COVID-19 infection down the road."

Plos One's research, which was published Wednesday, took into consideration medical records of more than 74,700 COVID-positive people across the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, German, Israel, and Singapore.

Researchers determined that those people who had previously received the influenza vaccine during the previous six months were "less likely to have had health complications related to their COVID-19 infection."

Findings noted that those people who did not receive flu shots were up to 20% more likely to be admitted to the ICU, up to 58% more likely to visit the emergency room, up to 45% more likely to develop sepsis, up to 58% more likely to have a stroke, and 40% more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis when compared to those who had received an influenza vaccine.

The research, according to the outlet, corroborated the findings of several previous studies that found links between "better COVID-19 outcomes and flu shots."

"That prior research similarly didn't find the flu vaccine offered any protection against COVID-19 death," the outlet added. "Importantly, the flu shot's link to better COVID-19 outcomes doesn't necessarily mean it's protective against the novel coronavirus. While it's possible that the flu shot boosts immunity, it's also possible that people who opt to get the flu shot tend to be healthier overall than people who skip it, meaning they're already at lower risk for COVID-19 complications."

It remains unknown whether the flu shot — which changes annually — will have the same effect for the upcoming flu season.

In the research, study authors concluded, "Even patients who have already received SARS-CoV-2 vaccination may stand to benefit given that the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine does not convey complete immunity."

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