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Review 2: "Vaccination for some childhood diseases may impact the outcome of covid-19 infections"

This study reports a negative correlation between vaccination against non-coronavirus infectious diseases and COVID-19 death rates for patients diagnosed in high and low-income countries. Reviewers deemed the study potentially informative, but warn of confounding variables.

Published onJan 28, 2022
Review 2: "Vaccination for some childhood diseases may impact the outcome of covid-19 infections"
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key-enterThis Pub is a Review of
Vaccination for some childhood diseases may impact the outcome of covid-19 infections

AbstractBackgroundCOVID-19 found the world in a state of unpreparedness. While research efforts to develop a vaccine are on-going, others have suggested the use of available vaccines to boost innate immunity.ObjectiveWe analysed three databases: UNICEF Immunization Coverage, Worldometer Corona Virus Updates and World Bank List of Economies to establish the association, if any, between vaccination for various diseases and COVID-19 death rates and recoveries across world economies.ResultsMean percentage death rates were lower in countries that vaccinated for Hepatitis-B birth dose (2.53% vs 3.79%, p = 0.001), Bacille Calmette-Guérin Vaccine (2.93% vs 5.10%, p = 0.025) and Inactivated Polio Vaccine 1st dose (2.8% vs 4.01%, p = 0.022) than those which did not report vaccination. In high income countries, a significant negative correlation with death rates was observed with vaccination for Measles-containing vaccine 2nd dose (r = –0.290, p = 0.032), Rubella-containing vaccine 1st dose (r = –0.325, p = 0.015), Hepatitis B 3rd dose (r = –0.562, p = 3.3 x10−5), Inactivated Polio vaccine 1st dose (r = –0.720, p = 0.008). Inactivated Polio Vaccine 1st dose and Measles-containing vaccine 2nd dose also correlated with better recoveries. In Low Income countries, only Rubella-containing vaccine correlated with lower deaths while Yellow fever vaccine was associated with poorer recoveries.ConclusionOur analysis corroborates the potential benefit of vaccination and warrant further research to explore the rationale for repurposing other vaccines to fight COVID-19.

RR:C19 Evidence Scale rating by reviewer:

  • Potentially informative. The main claims made are not strongly justified by the methods and data, but may yield some insight. The results and conclusions of the study may resemble those from the hypothetical ideal study, but there is substantial room for doubt. Decision-makers should consider this evidence only with a thorough understanding of its weaknesses, alongside other evidence and theory. Decision-makers should not consider this actionable, unless the weaknesses are clearly understood and there is other theory and evidence to further support it.



It is a very debatable topic and needs more ongoing research. This article was written based on information from August 2020 and data around that time. Vaccinations against COVID-19 were not available at that time. There are several studies that show that certain vaccination, like BCG, may provide some potential cross-immunity to several other viral infections. Their results showed statistically significant differences between the mean COVID-19 death rate between vaccinated and unvaccinated countries for BCG, IPV, and HB-BD. The authors have acknowledged several limitations to the study, and there are several confounding factors. I recommend collecting more data on % death rate and recovery rate for high, middle, and low-income countries for BCG, IPV, and HB-BD. I recommend more studies on a larger scale to determine further impact.


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