With a unique influenza season occurring in the midst of a pandemic, there is interest in assessing the role of the influenza vaccine in COVID-19 susceptibility and severity.
In this retrospective cohort study, patients receiving a laboratory test for COVID-19 were identified. The primary outcome was comparison of positive COVID-19 testing in those who received the influenza vaccine versus those who did not. Secondary end points in patients testing positive for COVID-19 included mortality, need for hospitalization, length of stay, need for intensive care, and mechanical ventilation.
A total of 27,201 patients received laboratory testing for COVID-19. The odds of testing positive for COVID-19 was reduced in patients who received an influenza vaccine compared to those who did not (odds ratio 0.76, 95% CI 0.68-0.86; P < .001). Vaccinated patients testing positive for COVID-19 were less likely to require hospitalization (odds ratio, 0.58, 95% CI 0.46-0.73; P < .001), or mechanical ventilation (odds ratio, 0.45, 95% CI 0.27-0.78; P = .004) and had a shorter hospital length of stay (risk ratio, 0.76, 95% CI 0.65-0.89; P < .001).
Influenza vaccination is associated with decreased positive COVID-19 testing and improved clinical outcomes and should be promoted to reduce the burden of COVID-19.