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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Flu shot protects but not against coronavirus: Expert

Scientifically, there is no study or proof which says that a flu vaccine will give immunity against Covid-19, asserts Prof Rakesh Kochhar, Department of Gastroenterology, PGI.

Written by Parul | Chandigarh |
August 25, 2021 6:38:05 am
India's drug regulator in July granted permission to Serum Institute of India (SII) for conducting phase 2/3 trials of Covovax on children aged 2 to 17 years with certain conditions. (File Photo)

WHILE Covid-19 cases in India have come down, the flu season is here. The symptoms of common flu are very similar to those of Covid-19, with some also questioning if a flu vaccine will also Many doctors recommend the flu vaccine, to be administered annually due to change in the circulating strains of viruses.

Dr Vikas Bhutani, Director Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, says that flu shots are recommended as they will give immunity from flu. “Coronavirus and flu are two entirely different viruses, but a study suggests those who get a flu vaccine face a considerably lower risk for being hospitalised if and when they get Covid-19. It is wise to give flu shots to everyone including children, but Covid-19 vaccines are recommended to be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration of any other vaccines, including influenza/flu vaccines,” says Dr Bhutani.

Dr Amandeep Kang, Director Health Services, Chandigarh, notes that the symptoms of flu and Covid-19 may be very similar, and the doctor is the best person to detect and diagnose if it is a common flu or we need a Covid test. As for the flu vaccine, the doctor says it is valuable for the elderly and those with co-morbidities, but offers no protection against Covid-19.

Scientifically, there is no study or proof which says that a flu vaccine will give immunity against Covid-19, asserts Prof Rakesh Kochhar, Department of Gastroenterology, PGI. “The flu vaccine is important for those who have lung disease and the elderly, for it will protect them from hospitalisation and other complications. Also, the vaccine will also check the spread of infection,” says Professor Kochhar.

Talking about the third wave, Prof Kochhar says the important task is to vaccinate more people, for the recent sero survey indicates that 2\3 of the people have been exposed to the virus, which is a sizeable number, but to achieve herd immunity, 85 per cent have to be exposed either through infection or vaccination to achieve herd immunity.

“Many parts of the world are now facing a surge in Covid cases, and as seen last time, a couple of months later, India sees a rise in cases. If the Delta variant is the last one we do not know, for if new variants come up, it may be an issue, and our only protection is vaccination and Covid- appropriate behaviour,” sums up Professor Kochhar.

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