Why Infants Rarely Die of COVID-19 and Morbidity and Mortality Rates Vary by Location: Pneumococcal and Hib Vaccinations as Possible Means to Mitigate Future Pandemics
Two conundrums have puzzled COVID-19 investigators: 1) morbidity and mortality is rare among Infants and young children and 2) rates of morbidity and mortality exhibit very large variances across nations, locals and even within cities. These differences correlate with rates of Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) and pneumococcal vaccination, which are almost universal among infants and vary widely by geography among adults and the elderly. The higher the rate of vaccination, the lower the
... the lower the COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Vaccination rates with other vaccines, including BCG, do not correlate with COVID-19 risks. Notably, both Hib and pneumoccoci are common co-infections with influenza and coronaviruses and are associated with more severe disease and risk of death. Whether the vaccines simply protect against COVID-19 complications, directly protect against COVID-19 infection by inducing cross-reactive immunity, or are markers for some other types of protection such as availability of better healthcare, is not yet known. What is known is that improving coverage rates of Hib and pneumococcal vaccination has significantly lowered severe morbidity and mortality in influenza epidemics and might have similar efficacy for mitigating coronavirus outbreaks. If infants and children are valid indicators, the beneficial effects might be very significant.