A flu shot won't prevent coronavirus – but it could help prepare US2020-03-11
A flu shot won’t protect you from coronavirus – but it could help prevent you from catching respiratory viruses that make you more susceptible to the highly-contagious disease that has sickened 627 in the US
- Health experts say the flu shot won’t prevent you from contracting coronavirus
- But it will reduce the number of flu patients so that when people visit hospitals with nonspecific symptoms, it will be easier to detect positive COVID-19 cases
- The vaccine also makes you less susceptible to coronavirus because your body could be weakened by fighting off a deadly influenza strain
- In the US, there are more than 600 confirmed cases and 22 people have died
Health officials are urging Americans to get their flu shots if they haven’t already to better prepare the US against the coronavirus outbreak.
The vaccine won’t protect people against COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, but it could help healthcare workers better detect cases when people come in with non-specific symptoms, such as fever and coughing.
Doctor also add that it could help prevent you from catching a flu strain that makes you more susceptible to coronavirus.
As of Monday afternoon, there are 627 confirmed coronavirus cases across 34 states and 22 people – in California, Texas and Washington – have died.
Health experts say the flu shot won’t prevent you from contracting coronavirus, but it could help medical professionals better fight the outbreak (file image)
In the US, there are more than 600 confirmed cases across 34 states and 22 people have died
Last week, President Donald Trump asked officials at a White House roundtable meeting if the flu shot could be effective against coronavirus.
The immediate answer was ‘no’ but experts say the flu vaccine but that it could help control the spread of the new virus.
‘I do think immunizing people against influenza has a very important indirect effect,’ Dr Albert Ko, a professor of epidemiology and of medicine and department chair at the Yale School of Public Health, told Live Science.
One reason is that hospitals across the country are already seeing thousands of flu cases.
According to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 34 million people have fallen ill and 350,000 have been hospitalized.
As of Monday afternoon, about 20,000 people have died, including 136 children – the highest number at this point of the season since the 2019 swine flu pandemic.
Getting the flu vaccine will help reduce the number of flu patients.
Secondly, the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are very similar, including fever, coughing and shortness of breath.
If people visit hospitals and medical centers with non-specific symptoms, it will help healthcare workers more easily detect coronavirus cases.
This is especially important considering that Vice President Mike Pence admitted last week that the US doesn’t have enough kits to test everyone that needs a test.
Doctors say getting a flu shot will reduce number of flu patients so that when people visit hospitals with nonspecific symptoms, it will be easier to detect positive COVID-19 cases. Pictured: A patient is put into an ambulance outside the Life Care Center of Kirkland, which is linked to several coronavirus cases, in Washington, March 7
The vaccine also makes you less susceptible to coronavirus because your body could be weakened by fighting off a deadly influenza strain. Pictured: Women wear face masks as they ride the subway in New York City, March 8
‘[This] could make us much more efficient in detecting coronavirus,’ Dr Ko told Live Science.
He said that finding positive cases is similar to finding a ‘needle out of a haystack’ but that lowering the number of flu cases can ‘decrease the haystack.’
Additionally, if you’re sickened with the flu, it could make you more susceptible to the new coronavirus because your body is weakened from fighting off influenza
The flu shot prevents that from happening.
‘Though influenza B already had a peak, we are seeing an increase in influenza A, which can last well into the spring,’ Dr Jennifer Vines, the lead health officer for the tri-county region in Oregon told The Oregonian.
‘We have reports of flu-related hospitalizations. There’s a lot we don’t know about COVID-19, but there are things you can do to stop getting a respiratory virus.’
Worldwide, more than 111,000 people have been infected in more than 100 countries and territories and more than 3,800 people have died.
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