What is it about?
Through their well-known beneficial indirect effects on the immune system, routine vaccines against common diseases like measles and tuberculosis can help defend the body against other conditions as well. We show that even relatively small non-COVID vaccination campaigns with minimal "knock-on" effects might lower the peak of COVID-19 surges if implemented at the right time.
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Why is it important?
The global rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 shows the need for new ways to control the pandemic aside from restrictive social measures (for which there is decreasing public support after 3 years of variable lockdowns) and targeted vaccination (which the Omicron variant seems to be good at evading). We looked at the possibility of using a beneficial side effect of routine vaccinations against common diseases -- namely, knock-on or "heterologous" immunity - to both support global public health during the pandemic and also "flatten the curve" of local surges in COVID-19 variants like Omicron for which there currently is poor control.
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This page is a summary of: Heterologous vaccination interventions to reduce pandemic morbidity and mortality: Modeling the US winter 2020 COVID-19 wave, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2025448119.
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