Vaccines strongly reduce risk of long COVID

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In a study from Bar-Ilan University, scientists found that being vaccinated with at least two doses of Pfizer vaccines dramatically reduces most of the long-term symptoms individuals reported months after contracting COVID-19.

In this study, eight of the ten most commonly reported symptoms were reported between 50 and 80% less often among people who received at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine compared with those who received no doses.

The team tested nearly 3,500 adults across Israel. These individuals completed a survey with a variety of questions about previous COVID-19 infection, vaccination status, and any symptoms they were experiencing.

More than half of the participants (2,447) reported no previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, while 951 were previously infected. Of those infected, 637 (67%) received at least two vaccine doses.

Among the 2,447 individuals reporting no previous infection 21 (0.9%) received one dose, 1,195 (48.8%) received two doses, 744 (30.4%) received three doses, and the rest were unvaccinated (19.9%).

The researchers compared vaccinated individuals with those unvaccinated in terms of post-acute self-reported symptoms.

They found that vaccination with two or more doses of the Pfizer vaccine was linked to a reduced risk of reporting the most common post-COVID symptoms.

Among those in the current study’s population, the most common symptoms reported—fatigue, headache, weakness of limbs, and persistent muscle pain—were reduced by 62%, 50%, 62%, and 66%, respectively.

Shortness of breath was reduced by 80% and persistent muscle pain by 70%.

The study contributes to scarce information to date about the impact of vaccination on long COVID.

The team says because long COVID seems to affect so many people it was important to us to check whether vaccines could help alleviate the symptoms.

It is becoming increasingly clear that vaccines protect not just against disease but, as the results of this study suggest, against long-term, sometimes life-changing, effects of COVID-19.

To what extent vaccines protect against long COVID remains less clear.

This study is the first in an ongoing project launched by Edelstein to track a large cohort of individuals from all sectors of Israel’s diverse society to understand the impact of the vaccines on long-term quality of life, different COVID variants, and long-COVID symptoms.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about the biggest risk factors for COVID-19 death, and new antiviral drugs may block COVID-19 transmission.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about new face masks to deactivate COVID-19, and results showing antibodies that block all the COVID-19 variants.

The study was conducted by Prof. Michael Edelstein et al and published in the Nature journal npj Vaccines.

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