Vaccination after COVID-19 infection may reduce ‘long COVID’ symptoms

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Scientists from Office for National Statistics in the UK found that vaccination after COVID-19 infection is linked to a decrease in the likelihood of long COVID symptoms.

They say vaccination may contribute to a reduction in the population health burden of long COVID, at least in the first few months after vaccination.

The research is published in The BMJ and was conducted by Daniel Ayoubkhani et al.

Vaccines against COVID-19 are effective at reducing rates of coronavirus infection, transmission, hospital admission, and death.

Evidence also suggests that long COVID is reduced in those who are infected after vaccination, but the effectiveness of vaccination on pre-existing long COVID is less clear.

Previous research has found that 44% of people who report long COVID have had symptoms for at least one year, two-thirds of whom report symptoms severe enough to limit their day-to-day activities.

In the study, the team examined associations between COVID-19 vaccination and long COVID symptoms in adults with COVID-19 infection before vaccination.

They analyzed data for 28,356 adults aged 18-69 years who received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose after testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection.

They then tracked the presence of long COVID symptoms over a seven-month follow-up period (February to September 2021).

Long COVID symptoms of any severity were reported by 6,729 participants (24%) at least once during follow-up.

The team found a first vaccine dose was linked to an initial 13% decrease in the odds of long COVID.

Receiving a second vaccine dose was linked to a further 9% decrease in the odds of long COVID, and this improvement was sustained at least over an average follow-up of nine weeks.

Similar results were also found when the focus was on long COVID severe enough to result in limitation of day-to-day activities.

These results suggest that vaccination of people previously infected may be associated with a reduction in the burden of long COVID on population health, at least in the first few months after vaccination.

They call for further research into the long-term link between vaccination and long COVID.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about a new risk factor for severe COVID-19, and vitamin D can be a cheap COVID-19 treatment.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about drug that can block multiple COVID-19 variants, and results showing new treatments for COVID-19 may stave off the worst effects of the virus.

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