Flu shot protects against severe COVID effects, study finds

University of Miami research published Tuesday

Dr. Devinder Singh (left) poses with his research team and study lead authors Medical Student Susan M. Taghioff and Plastic Surgery Resident Dr. Benjamin R. Slavin. (Photo courtesy of the University of Miami)

The flu shot may carry some protection against severe effects of COVID-19, according to a study published Tuesday by physician-scientists at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.

By analyzing data from patients around the world, researchers found that the flu shot reduces the risk of stroke, sepsis and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients with COVID-19.

Patients with COVID-19 who had been vaccinated against the flu were also significantly less likely to visit the emergency department and be admitted to the intensive care unit.

Although it isn’t exactly known yet how the flu vaccine provides protection against COVID-19, most theories speculate that the flu shot may boost the innate immune system.

UM says the study used patient records from countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Israel and Singapore.

“Only a small fraction of the world has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to date, and with all the devastation that has occurred due to the pandemic, the global community still needs to find solutions to reduce morbidity and mortality,” senior study author Dr. Devinder Singh said in a news release from the school. “Having access to the real-time data of millions of patients is an incredibly powerful research tool. Together with asking important questions, my team has been able to observe an association between the flu vaccine and reduced morbidity in COVID-19 patients.”

Singh, chief of plastic surgery and professor of clinical surgery at the Miller School, conducted the study with lead authors Susan Taghioff (a UM medical student) and Dr. Benjamin Slavin (a UM plastic surgery resident).

To read the full study, click here.

About the Author:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.