Association of Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), Adult Pneumococcal and Adult Seasonal Influenza Vaccines with Covid-19 Adjusted Mortality Rates in Level 4 European countries [article]

Joe Gallagher, Chris Watson, Mark Ledwidge
2020 medRxiv   pre-print
Introduction Non-specific effects of vaccines have gained increasing interest during the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, population use of BCG vaccine has been associated with improved outcomes. This study sought to determine the association of population use of BCG, adult pneumococcal and adult seasonal influenza vaccination with Covid-19 mortality when adjusted for a number of confounding variables. Methods: Using publicly available data, mortality adjusted for the timeframe of crisis,
more » ... ation size and population characteristics was calculated. The primary analysis was the relationship between each of the day 15 and day 30 standardised mortality rates and BCG, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccination scores using unadjusted measures and with adjustment for population structure and case fatality rates. Secondary analyses were measures of case increases and mortality increases from day 15 to day 30 for each of the relative vaccination scores. Finally, we also analysed the peak Z score reflecting increases in total mortality from historical averages reported by EuroMOMO (, Results: Following adjustment for the effects of population size, median age, population density, the proportion of population living in an urban setting, life-expectancy, the elderly dependency ratio (or proportion over 65 years), net migration, days from day 1 to lockdown and case-fatality rate, only BCG vaccination score remained significantly associated with Covid-19 mortality at day 30. In the best fit model, BCG vaccination score was associated with a 64% reduction in log(10) mortality per 10 million population (OR 0.362 reduction [95% CI 0.188 to 0.698]), following adjustment for population size, median age, density, urbanization, elderly dependency ratio, days to lockdown, yearly migration and case fatality rate. Conclusion BCG vaccine was associated with reduced mortality rates in level 4 countries while adult pneumococcal and adult seasonal influenza vaccines were not when adjusted for a number of confounding variables. A number of trials are ongoing to determine if BCG is protective against severe Covid-19 infection.
doi:10.1101/2020.06.03.20121624 fatcat:jybpewb4ifd5vb6gljxmcu7v7i