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Influenza Vaccinations Not Linked to Increased COVID-19 Risk

Studies show that the flu vaccine is a very important intervention to help stay healthy this fall and winter.

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WebQoof
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Social media posts claiming that the influenza vaccine increases the chances of contracting COVID-19 infection have gone viral.

However, researchers have found that receiving the influenza vaccine does not increase a person's risk for contracting COVID-19.

Studies show that the flu vaccine is a very important intervention to help stay healthy this fall and winter.
An archive of the post can be found here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Twitter)  
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CLAIM

“Flu vaccination could increase your chances of contracting COVID-19. A recent study found that military personnel evaluated who received the flu vaccine were at 36 percent higher odds of testing positive for coronavirus (pre-SARS CoV-2),” the claim reads on several social media posts.

Studies show that the flu vaccine is a very important intervention to help stay healthy this fall and winter.
  An archive of the post can be found here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Facebook)  
Studies show that the flu vaccine is a very important intervention to help stay healthy this fall and winter.
  An archive of the post can be found here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Facebook)  
Studies show that the flu vaccine is a very important intervention to help stay healthy this fall and winter.
  An archive of the post can be found here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Instagram)  
Studies show that the flu vaccine is a very important intervention to help stay healthy this fall and winter.
An archive of the post can be found here
(Photo: Screenshot/Facebook)
Studies show that the flu vaccine is a very important intervention to help stay healthy this fall and winter.
An archive of the post can be found here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Twitter)  

We also found some posts attributed to Dr Rashid Buttar that also said that if you have had flu vaccines, it will make you test positive for COVID-19.

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

The posts cited a study published in Science Direct to substantiate the claim. However, we found that the data collected for this study was collected during the 2017-2018 flu season before the novel coronavirus pandemic started.

When we looked at the references, we found a letter to the editor, written by the author of the abovementioned study who clarified that the study had nothing to do with COVID-19.

“Coronavirus results in this study represented the four endemic, regularly circulating strains of coronavirus (229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1) during the 2017–2018 influenza season, not novel coronavirus (COVID-19),” the author writes.
Studies show that the flu vaccine is a very important intervention to help stay healthy this fall and winter.
An archive of the post can be found here.
(Photo: Screenshot/Science Direct)  
Studies show that the flu vaccine is a very important intervention to help stay healthy this fall and winter.
An archive of the paper can be found here.
(Photo: Screenshot/IDSA)  

Further, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mentioned this study on their website and addressed misconceptions about the flu vaccine.

“There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccination increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19,” CDC said.

CDC further added that Canadian researchers had identified a flaw in the methods of the first study and upon reexamining the data from the first study, using correct methods, they found that flu vaccination did not increase the risk of getting coronaviruses.

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We reached out to Dr Shahid Jameel, a virologist and director of Trivedi School of Biosciences, Ashoka University. Dr Jameel, who himself took the flu vaccine recently, dismissed the claim and said one gets COVID-19 by how careful or careless they are in wearing masks, washing hands with soap and maintaining distance.

Another study published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science shows the flu vaccine is the single most important intervention to help stay healthy this fall and winter.

"This year, it's even more important to receive the flu vaccination to help prevent a twindemic of flu and COVID-19," the study authors wrote.

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There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccine increases the risk of getting COVID-19 and posts made by people were based on a study that has now been debunked.

(The article was first published in FIT and has been republished with permission.)

Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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