BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A vaccine given to children before starting school shows promise in preventing severe COVID-19 infections.

A few months ago, a US Navy ship with nearly 1,000 sailors on board had a Coronavirus outbreak, but only one person had to be hospitalized due to the virus. The underlying factor across the board? All of them had this MMR vaccine.

A local pharmacist said he recommends anyone over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions to get this booster.

The MMR vaccine is typically given to children ages two and five to protect them against the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. It’s called a “live attenuated vaccine” meaning it contains real, but weakened, viruses and bacteria.

“The antibodies that this MMR vaccine is non-targeting, nonspecific for is some of the coronaviruses, which then spills over into the COVID-19 protection,” Ronald Dick, Owner and Registered Pharmacist at Duncansville Pharmacy, said.

When you get the shot as a child, you automatically produce antibodies and what are called MDS cells.

“These guys then get reactivated when you get this MMR vaccine as a booster,” he said.

It protects against inflammation in lung tissue, the main problem caused by the Coronavirus.

“It’s like having that good stock in your portfolio, low risk, high return, and that’s what were getting when we do the MMR at this point…I know from a factual standpoint and from a professional and an immunization standpoint, this seems like a winner,” Dick said

There are studies that show the MMR vaccine could go hand-in-hand with the eventual Coronavirus-specific vaccine.

If you’re interested in getting the MMR vaccine or learning more about it, most pharmacies and doctors offices offer the shot.