ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- While the world anxiously awaits a vaccine for the coronavirus, health experts say there is something we can do to try and keep ourselves healthy in the meantime. They want everyone to be up-to-date on their immunizations.
Immune training is not a new concept. For example, the BCG vaccine is used to prevent tuberculosis.
"It is known to prevent a variety of other diseases other than tuberculosis," said Dr. Andrew Badley, Mayo Clinic COVID Research Taskforce Chair. "So it prevents you from acquiring malaria, possibly yellow fever, and other diseases."
Even the influenza vaccine has been known to be beneficial beyond avoiding the seasonal bug.
"And so when we came into the COVID era, we asked the question 'what is the effect of regularly scheduled vaccines on your chance of developing COVID disease?'" Badley said. "And what we discovered is there's a large number of vaccines, measles vaccine, flu vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine and a few others that if you take those vaccines, your risk of acquiring COVID is less than if you don't take those vaccines."
Badley said there are no clinical trials proving this yet, but there are studies being done.
"Many people right now are waiting to get a vaccine that's specific for COVID," Badley said. "We all are. We'd like to see that. We'd like to see one that's effective. But it's important to know that today that there are interventions you can do that will reduce your risk. And in the best case scenario, a vaccine will reduce your risk."
In addition to being up to date on your vaccines, there are things we can do today to reduce our chances of having a severe outcome from COVID-19, such as controlling diabetes, getting exercise, reducing alcohol intake and stopping smoking.