Flu vaccine linked to less severe COVID-19
COVID-19 patients who had received the flu vaccine 6 months to 2 weeks prior to diagnosis were less likely to have sepsis, stroke, and—with some time constraints—deep vein thrombosis (DVTs) and admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) or emergency department (ED), according to a study yesterday in PLOS One.
The researchers used an electronic medical record network to match 37,377 COVID-19 patients who had received the flu vaccine with 37,377 of those who hadn't in January 2021, drawing from 56 healthcare organizations predominantly in the United States. Across 30, 60, 90, and 120 days after being diagnosed as having COVID-19, those who received the flu vaccine had lower occurrences of sepsis (risk ratio [RR], 1.36 to 1.45), stroke (RR, 1.45 to 1.58), and, for almost all time points, less likely to go to the ICU (RR, 1.17 to 1.20 for 30, 90, and 120 days, with day 60 approaching significance at 1.16).
From days 60 to 120, patients who had the flu vaccine also showed significantly less likelihood for DVTs (RR, 1.41 to 1.53) and, from days 90 to 120, significantly less likelihood of visiting the ED (RR, 1.20 to 1.58). Similar to previous studies, the researchers did not find any significance with mortality rates.
"In addition to guarding against a possible 'twindemic' of simultaneous outbreaks of influenza and SARS-CoV-2, the [number needed to vaccinate] trends observed within 30–120 days of SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis for sepsis, stroke, ICU admission, DVT, and ED visits further strengthen the case in favor of a protective effect of influenza vaccination," write the researchers.
Aug 3 PLOS One study
Study shows mRNA vaccines don’t trigger flares in rheumatic patients
A study today in Arthritis & Rheumatology shows the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 do not routinely cause rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases like arthritis to flare in patients after the two-dose vaccination, and if flares do occur, they are not severe.
The study was based on 1,377 patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, including arthritis and lupus. The researchers measured symptoms within 7 days of each vaccine dose (D1 and D2), and 1 month after D2. Only 11% of participants reported a flare that required treatment after vaccination, none of which were severe.
Most patients experienced mild adverse reactions to the vaccines, including injection-site pain (D1, 87%; D2, 86%) and fatigue (D1, 60%; D2, 80%). For the 11% who experienced a flare, the event was associated with prior COVID-19 infection (incident risk ratio [IRR], 2.09; P = 0.02), flare in the 6 months preceding vaccination (IRR, 2.36; P < 0.001), and use of combination immunomodulatory therapy (IRR, 1.95; P < 0.001).
"This study highlights that most of our rheumatic patients tolerated the vaccine well with mostly having local reactions such as injection site pain, which was quite reassuring, but most importantly, we did not observe any severe flares of their underlying autoimmune disease," said co–senior author Julie J. Paik, MD, MHS, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a press release from Wiley, which publishes the journal.
Aug 4 Arthritis Rheum study
Aug 4 Wiley press release