Srinagar, Oct 22: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Thursday said that flu vaccine would protect you from severe Covid-19 disease.
“Flu shot would reduce your risk of dying from Covid-19 infection,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“A study on the elderly population in the United States found that a 10 percent increase in the flu vaccine coverage in an area can reduce Covid mortality in the area by 28 percent,” he said.
DAK President said at least two other studies have indicated that flu shots provide protection against severe Covid-19 infection.
“One of these studies conducted in Italy indicated that areas in which more people took flu vaccine had a lower death rate from Covid-19 infection,” he said.
“In another study, researchers in Brazil found that a flu shot can reduce mortality by 20 percent when taken before the onset of Covid-19 and about 27 percent when the vaccine was given after the onset of Covid-19,” he added.
Dr Nisar said flu vaccine trains the immune system of a person to quickly recognize and clear away any harmful organism including those not targeted by the vaccine.
Also, vaccine produces protective neutralizing antibodies and specific T-cell response that could provide cross-protection against Covid-19 infection.
“We could be facing a confluence this winter of a flu pandemic and a still raging Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
“People can catch flu and Covid at the same time and that increases their risk of ending up in ICU or on a ventilator.”
“That makes this year’s flu vaccine vitally important,” Dr Nisar said adding “flu vaccine will reduce the risk of simultaneous infection and reduce the burden on health care system that is currently struggling from the Covid pandemic.”
“While flu vaccination is recommended for all, it is especially needed in young children, elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions,” he said.
“Ideally, people should get the vaccine by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season even into January or later,” said Dr Nisar.