Tetanus, Diphtheria Boosters Tied to Less Severe COVID-19

By Reuters Staff

July 07, 2021

(Reuters) - Older individuals who have gotten a diphtheria or tetanus vaccine booster shot in the last 10 years may be at lower risk for severe COVID-19, a new study suggests.

Using a large UK registry, researchers looked back at 10 years of immunization records from 103,409 participants with an average age of 71.

They saw a trend toward a lower risk of a positive COVID-19 test in people who had gotten a tetanus or diphtheria booster shot during the study period. There was, however, a statistically significant association between the booster shots and the odds of severe COVID-19.

After accounting for age, sex, underlying respiratory diseases, and socioeconomic status, the odds of developing severe COVID-19 were 64% lower in people who had gotten a diphtheria booster and 50% lower in recipients of tetanus booster, according to a report posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

The study does not prove cause and effect. If there is some effect of the boosters, it might be that they protect against severe COVID-19 symptoms by stimulating the immune system, the authors suggest. "The possibility that these vaccinations may influence the severity of COVID-19 warrants follow-up investigations," they conclude.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/2SBSVLg medRxiv, online June 12, 2021.