United States: COVID-19 and its vaccination are an important topic of research; recently, a study revealed that symptomatic asthma can be cured through COVID-19 vaccination. The protection can be seen in children aged more than five (5) years.

The researchers have claimed that state-level changes in parent-reported asthma symptoms for 2020 and 2021 were calculated as compared to symptoms witnessed in 2018 and 2019. While conducting the study, the major focus was evaluating state-level time trends as well as linking trend associations with state-level variables from the same time.

The researchers while elaborating stated, “Social distancing measures in 2020 were associated with lower rates of emergency visits and hospitalizations for asthma among children. Individual-level risk of COVID-19 infection was reduced with vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 for adults and children in 2020 and 2021, and several states sustained other infection prevention efforts (eg, face mask requirements) into 2021,” as per reports by CIDRAP.

The study’s findings were published recently in JAMA Network Open.

Symptom Rates Decline During Study Period

State-level averages for parent-reported asthma symptoms dropped from 7.77 percent in 2018-2019 to 6.93 percent in 2020-2021, with an absolute average change score of -0.85 percentage points.

The average age-adjusted state COVID-19 mortality rate was 80.3 per 100,000 individuals in 2020, rising to 99.3 per 100,000 in 2021. The average state completion rate for the COVID-19 primary vaccination series stood at 72.3 percent by December 2021.

Linear regression analysis revealed that each 10-percentage-point increase in COVID-19 vaccination coverage corresponded with a 0.36 percentage-point decrease in the prevalence of childhood asthma symptoms. The asthma symptom rate showed no significant correlation with state COVID-19 mortality rates or mask mandates. However, state COVID-19 vaccination rates inversely correlated with state COVID-19 mortality rates in 2021 but not in 2020 and positively correlated with face mask mandates.

While explaining the matter, lead author of the study, during a press release stated, “Whether asthma is mild or severe, it affects children’s quality of life. So anything we can do to help kids avoid flare-ups is beneficial.”

Limitations in Assessing Symptom Differences by Vaccination Status

As per CIDRAP, “In this study, which is the first population-level parent-reported childhood asthma symptom prevalence and COVID-19 vaccination study we know of, we found that higher COVID-19 vaccination rates may confer protection against symptomatic asthma,” the researchers stated.

They also noted that, beyond COVID-19, vaccination might protect against other human coronaviruses via cross-reactive antibody responses.

Reportedly, “community-level immunity in states with higher vaccination rates may have helped reduce children’s asthma risk,” the researchers mentioned, adding, “In contrast, neither concurrent exposure to high population-level burden of COVID-19–attributed disease nor sustained state-level face mask requirements were associated with concurrent trends in parent-reported symptomatic childhood asthma..”

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The researchers acknowledged their inability to evaluate differences in symptomatic asthma among vaccinated versus unvaccinated children due to the lack of state data on COVID-19 vaccine uptake among children with a history of asthma.

“Nonetheless, reduction in symptomatic asthma among children in 2020 and overall individual-level COVID-19 mortality reduction with vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 offer external support for our state-level findings. Moreover, the absence of association of COVID-19 vaccination (administered predominantly in 2021) with population-level COVID-19 mortality in 2020 serves as a negative control,” the researchers mentioned, as per CIDRAP.

They emphasized that further investigation is needed to determine if continued efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccine coverage in this age group could further reduce asthma symptom rates in children.

Endeavor Health in Evanston, Illinois, and co-author of the study – Dr Lakshmi Halasyamani, “Ongoing vaccination against COVID-19 may offer direct benefits for children with a history of asthma, but this must be confirmed with further research. It also raises the question of whether broader population-level COVID-19 vaccination among children and adults can help protect children with asthma, too.”

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