Submitted by rowanskye t3_zmbngx in askscience

Hopefully this is not in violation of the "Can be easily google" rule, as I have searched myself a fair bit but turned up nothing. I am not an academic, so I don't really know how to ask the question I want answered in a way google facilitates.

Basically, I would like to see some data on the infection rates of Flu and RSV between cohorts that recieved an mRNA vaccine for covid and those that did not. Ideally peer reviewed sources, but pre-order review could suffice (I can follow along until the paper is published). It may also be the case that it is too early in the flu season for such research to have been conducted, so I would also be interested in any ongoing studies. Lastly, I'm interested to learn about the methodology used to find these studies.

As I know COVID can be contentious, my agenda is to accrue compelling evidence to disprove my family member's assertions that rising flu and RSV infections are caused by "the clot shot".

For transparency, I am double vaxxed and boosted, with another booster on the the way.



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SonofTreehorn t1_j0b7in6 wrote

No, the COVID vaccine is not causing a spike in flu or RSV. The logical answer is we went from masks and isolation to the complete opposite. It would be like arguing that the initial round of COVID vaccines wiped out flu and rsv. It’s the old correlation does not imply causation. Your family is not going to believe you even with data. Stop wasting your time.


Fuddle t1_j0bnr86 wrote

If anything I wonder if there is data on if having Covid affects the immune system or respiratory system which leads to stronger reactions to subsequent infections from other respiratory viruses.


rowanskye OP t1_j0bdjht wrote

I appreciate the response. While I agree with your hypothesis, it is still important to me I have data to back up my views.

To me, there is no known method by which the mRNA vaccines would have increased immune susceptibility to flu and RSV. That said, these are new vaccines technologies, so it's reasonable enough that some people are abundantly cautious about them. They were also administered to billions of people, alongside relatively large swaths of people abstaining from vaccination, so I don't see why this data wouldn't be available.

I think studies of this nature would help in the long-term to quell their fears, increasing common sense health care uptake, which ultimately is better for everyone.

On a philosophical note, I don't think it's ever a waste of time to engage with humans of differing views. I feel it's the only way out of our echo chambers.


GreatAndPowerfulNixy t1_j0bf1ky wrote

It's a huge waste of time engaging on this subject. No one in the anti-vaccine group got themselves into that opinion with reasoning; it's pure emotion driven by sociopathic politicians on the political Right. They're not in an echo chamber, they're in a thirty-foot hole of their own making... And they sure as heck aren't going to dig themselves back out again any time soon.

Best to cut the tumor out of your life rather than let it become metastatic.


dogmeat12358 t1_j0d080q wrote

There is also a strong left leaning anti-vax contingent. This topic is often listed as an example of the horseshoe effect.


GreatAndPowerfulNixy t1_j0ehuvb wrote

It's a very poor example, since radical "left-leaning" anti-vaccination proponents do a very poor job of hiding their rightward political bend.


Frubanoid t1_j0bljzt wrote

But then won't the cancerous elements of society just coalesce and procreate even more?


Occasional_Lime t1_j0ccwui wrote

Interestingly I was listening to a radio interview the other day and the scientific communications expert they were talking to said that there are studies that show the more data and facts you use to back up your beliefs (when trying to fight disinformation) the more the other party will dig in and become even more entrenched in their views. Since it was radio I don't have a link, but that might be googleable. So getting studies might help you to have confidence in the hypothesis, but it is unlikely to sway peoples thinking, especially if they have a distrust of science already.


[deleted] t1_j0b8ezr wrote



aphasic t1_j0bea8m wrote

People are regularly exposed, every season we have X million exposed, and 5% or whatever are severe. Due to the pandemic we basically skipped 2X exposures that would have happened, so now we are having 2-3x all at once. Even if the same 5% were severe, it would be bad. That also ignores two other factors, viruses spread better in populations with fewer immune individuals to act like fire breaks, and we also probably put selection pressure on flu and rsv to be more contagious (to allow survival during covid measures). All of that together is probably a perfect storm of infection. We are probably infecting a lot more people per day than a normal year due to all these factors.


niftyifty t1_j0bghc4 wrote

Thank you. So the firebreaks makes sense to me. Are we really 2x’ing exposure though? Wouldn’t exposure rates be somewhat consistent annually outside of pandemic years? Prime sent note exposed today than say 2019, correct? I guess what I’m asking is, shouldn’t this year just be “back to normal” If it is exposure related? Am I thinking of “exposure” incorrectly?


phred14 t1_j0c9g78 wrote

Though not causation I might expect some correlation, with the assumption that the vaccinated are more likely to follow other general medical precautions.


Stornahal t1_j0aqpzq wrote

From what I have read, the rising rates of RSV, scarlet fever (strep A?) flu etc are due to a lot of people being exposed AT THE SAME TIME.

Prior to CoVid, everyone was exposed and fell sick at fairly constant rates (all thing being equal, such as weather, etc). Then for 18-24 months a significant proportion of the population took non-medical measures to avoid infections (masks, socdist, handsanitising). When we all stopped (most of us anyway), this gave the reservoirs of the various diseases massive numbers of potential victims to infect, especially in schools.


informativebitching t1_j0c2t11 wrote

Schools already are the ready made aquarium for passing stuff around. One kid gives it to 5 in a single day. Then those kids go home and the other kids go to their school and so on. That’s with normal transmission during seasonal fluxes. Our daycare went through multiple rounds of viruses in June and July which was shortly after masks were dropped. Capped off by a second round of COVID in August (first go round was January). So it was Avery rapid set of punches and all offseason.


Verbenaplant t1_j0bc4id wrote

It’s like when you start university and everyone gets freshers flu it’s just a bunch of kids in close quarters so it spreads like mad.


bentlimerick t1_j0cvsgm wrote

RSV is most dangerous towards the very young and/or immunocompromised infants who can't even get the mRNA vaccine.

And as with most vaccines for rapidly changing respiratory viruses, it's not about infection rates. It's about the hospitalization and mortality rates. The hospitalization rates and mortality rates are higher among the unvaccinated for both Covid-19 and the flu.

The people who got vaccinated against COVID-19 tend to be the same people who get vaccinated against the flu. They also tend to be the same people wearing masks again.

Likewise, the people who did not get vaccinated against COVID-19 tend to be the same people who did not get vaccinated against the flu. They also tend to be the people who never really wore masks.

My guess is you also got a flu vaccine this year while your family members did not.

And since the people who don't get vaccinated tend to be the people who wind up taking up a disproportionate amount of space in the hospitals and morgues due to both flu and COVID-19, there's going to be a correlation between vaccination against COVID-19 and protection against influenza based on behavior alone.

One of the things that makes these theories about vaccine harm so compelling is that our follow-up for clinical trials is still very limited. We haven't really changed things since before the internet. Back when everything was in manila folders it was really hard to follow someone for more than a few years.

Now there are trial registry and results databases and disability claims databases that are reasonably expected to still be around in another 50 years.

But, since we've never bothered to connect those things together, it's hard enough to follow people for 15 years, let alone 50.


rowanskye OP t1_j0dhvue wrote

Yes, I'd expect to see RSV and flu rates to be higher in unvaccinated (mRNA) cohorts for the same reasons you've outlined. I am specifically asking for research demonstrating that result, or it's counter (though I'd find that result unlikely).


racinreaver t1_j0e83gp wrote

You're not going to find peer reviewed research on it yet because there simply hasn't been enough time. The whole news about this being a bad season is, what, a month old? It takes time to get funding, perform studies, write the paper, get through submissions to a journal, peer review, 1-2 rounds of reviews, acceptance, and then publication.

Publications on Covid were all over the place, and let a lot of lower quality publications creep through. In general science runs a lot slower than the news cycle and whatever the talking heads want to start popping off on.


rowanskye OP t1_j0el3ty wrote

Awesome, thank you for addressing my question directly.


racinreaver t1_j0em05l wrote

I should have also given a sense of perspective. I'm not in a bio field, but it's not unusual for the whole review cycle to take 3-6 months. I've had some go over a year...

Writing a paper can also take months, especially if you have collaborators across different institutions and have folks either slow in writing their sections (>_>) or people that really like to do a lot of revisions.

It's not uncommon for the literature to be lagging a year or two behind what's happening within the lab.


aeraen t1_j0cixdz wrote

This also isn't the first and only time that we've had a sudden and unexpected surge in a flu or respiratory virus. There have been dozens of periods in my memory wherein schools had to close for decontamination as up to 50% of the students came down with some crud. And this was before anyone had ever heard of covid.


The_North45 t1_j0cw4zf wrote

I've saved myself a lot of arguing time with people who oppose vaccines with a respectful 'is there anything I can say or any evidence I can provide that will change your mind?' Almost always they say no. So I stop trying.

I'm unaware of any tracking going on regarding unvaccinated being more susceptible to flu or RSV, but almost certainly the answer will be yes. As a group people who choose not to be vaccinated are more comfortable with taking risks so are less likely to take precautions like mask wearing or avoidance of large crowds.

Evidence to support the assertion is the recent news that people who choose to be unvaccinated agains covid may be more at risk for traffic accidents. Article below.

So it is unlikely covid vaccines provide any protection against the flu or RSV, but if you are the type of person who gets a covid vaccine you are more likely to take the precautions which lessen your chance of catching the flu or SRV.

"Could COVID-19 vaccinations be related to traffic safety? While the dots definitely haven’t been connected directly between those two, a new study suggests that people unwilling to get vaccinated may be more at risk of a serious traffic crash."


FindTheRemnant t1_j0czgh1 wrote

Regarding the traffic claim, vaccine uptake increases with age whereas serious traffic accidents decrease with age.

Correlation not causation


rowanskye OP t1_j0dgx6q wrote

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

> it is unlikely covid vaccines provide any protection against the flu or RSV, but if you are the type of person who gets a covid vaccine you are more likely to take the precautions which lessen your chance of catching the flu or SRV.

An excellent hypothesis that aligns with my own rationale; however, I'm asking for the data to back up this claim.

I do appreciate the citation to the traffic collision paper. I read that a couple days ago and found it quite interesting


The_North45 t1_j0dlhx9 wrote

Did you read the traffic article? Or the research paper? The academic paper infers potential behaviours of the vaccine hesitant. You want to email the researchers directly.

But my main point is there is significant evidence showing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, icu admissions and death is far greater for the unvaccinated. Yet I suspect your family dismisses this evidence. Just as there has been far too much money wasted proving vaccines don’t cause autism, it is unlikely there will be a compilation of the evidence you ask for. It’s there in the data but why would a public health expert spend money and time proving that hypothesis. The driving study will likely drive up insurance premiums in the unvaccinated if it proves to be true.