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expert reaction to study on Covid vaccines and asthma in children

A study published in JAMA Network Open looks at COVID vaccination and asthma prevalence in children. 


Prof Seif Shaheen, Professor of Respiratory Epidemiology, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), said:

“This study used available data to examine whether there was a geographical correlation across 20 US states between the prevalence of childhood asthma symptoms between 2018 and 2021 and the proportion of the population over 5 years of age who had received a first Covid-19 vaccination by 2021. The authors found that as vaccine uptake increased, so prevalence of asthma symptoms tended to fall, and hence concluded that ‘higher COVID-19 vaccination rates may confer protection against symptomatic asthma’.

“These findings should be treated with extreme caution, given that ecological studies of this kind provide the weakest evidence for causal associations, not least because they are highly susceptible to confounding. There are likely to be multiple factors associated both with childhood asthma and the likelihood of being vaccinated which could confound these findings, but data on potential confounders are not usually available in ecological studies, and so cannot be controlled for in the analyses. Such studies are, however, useful for generation of hypotheses to be tested in more rigorous observational studies of individuals.”



‘COVID-19 Vaccination and Parent-Reported Symptomatic Child Asthma Prevalence’ by Matthew M. Davis and Lakshmi K. Halasyamani was published in JAMA Network Open at 4pm UK time on Wednesday 3 July.


DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.19979


Declared interests

Seif Shaheen: I have no COI to declare

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