MMR and Tdap Vaccines May Protect Against Severe COVID-19


Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted an analysis to measure the response of T cells from MMR and Tdap vaccines that could help to decrease COVID-19 severity.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital has conducted a laboratory-based analysis to detect, characterize, and measure T cell responses to antigens from the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccines with respect to helping decrease COVID-19 severity.

“Our Cleveland Clinic colleagues observed an association where individuals with COVID-19 who had either MMR or Tdap vaccines had a much lower frequency of going to the intensive care unit or dying,” Andrew Lichtman, co-author of the analyses and senior investigator in the Brigham’s Department of Pathology, said in a statement. “Although previous smaller studies suggested a similar link, our in-depth epidemiological analyses, together with our basic research results, suggest that these commonly given vaccines may protect against severe disease.”

It was observed that T cells from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 and responded to proteins from SARS-CoV-2 were identical to those who responded to MMR and Tdap proteins, according to the statement.

The discovery came unexpectedly while MMR and Tdap were being used as controls for another experiment.

The epidemiological evidence from a second analysis showed that individuals who had been vaccinated for MMR had a 38% decrease in hospitalizations and a 32% decrease in intensive care unit admission and death, while the figures decreased for Tdap 23% and 20%, respectively, the statement said.

“Beyond learning about the potential benefits of the MMR and Tdap vaccines in the context of COVID-19, this study provides a blueprint for accelerating research,” Lara Jehi, MD, Cleveland Clinical Health System’s chief research information officer, said in the statement.

“Biomedical hypotheses generated in the laboratory can be explored through robust clinical and epidemiological research in well-curated, real-world data such as the Cleveland Clinic COVID Registry,” she said. “Knowledge learned through this collaboration is much more than the sum of our individual parts.”

Further work would need to be assessed in association between the 2 vaccines and severity of COVID-19, and it should it be a substitute for COVID-19 vaccines that may provide greater protection, according to the statement.


Evidence mounts that MMR and Tdap vaccines strengthen protection against severe COVID-19. EurekAlert. News release. August 31, 2021. Accessed August 31, 2021.

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