A whimsical suggestion: correlate influenza vaccine uptake with Covid-19 frequency
Reference has been made to the possibility that influenza vaccines increase the risk of coronavirus infections (Wolff, Vaccine 2020;38:350) and that this might be relevant to Covid-19 infections (www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1089/rr-10).
Furthermore, students of the subject have been perplexed about the wide geographic variation in the frequency and death rates of Covid-19.
I suggest that we look at influenza vaccine uptake in the elderly and Covid-19 death rates in European countries, using existing data. One source for vaccine data: OECD (2020), Influenza vaccination rates (indicator) doi:10.1787/e452582-e (Accessed on 21 May 2020). This lists, by country, the % of the population aged 65+ for 2018 or the latest available year. For Covid-19 death rates by country as of 21 May 2020: www.worldometers.info/coronavirus.
% INFLUENZA VACCINATIONS IN THE ELDERLY/COVID-19 DEATHRATES PER MILLION
Czech Republic 20.3/28 Lithuania 13.4/22
Denmark 52.0/97 Luxembourg 37.6/174
Estonia 4.8/48 Netherlands 64.0/337
Finland 48.4/55 Norway 34.4/43
France 49.7/431 Portugal 60.8/125
Germany 34.8/99 Slovak Republic 13.0/5
Hungary 26.8/49 Slovenia 11.8/51
Ireland 57.6/319 Spain 53.7/596
Italy 52.7/535 Sweden 49.4/384
Latvia 7.7/12 United Kingdom 72.6/531
To see if there is an association between the two factors find the correlation coefficient using a small hand calculator. Otherwise, make a scatterplot on a piece of graph paper…….Have fun!
ALLAN S. CUNNINGHAM 21 May 2020
Competing interests: No competing interests