Do Vaccines Protect Against Long Covid?

As the pandemic enters its third year, long Covid has emerged as an increasingly important concern. And many people are wondering if a covid shot can reduce their chances of developing long-term symptoms.

The jury is still out, but a growing number of studies suggest that getting a Covid vaccine can reduce – though not eliminate – the risk of longer-term symptoms.

The United Kingdom’s Health Security Agency conducted an analysis of eight studies that were published on the topic before mid-January. It is reported that six of the studies found that vaccinated people who became infected with coronavirus were less likely to develop symptoms of unvaccinated patients than in long covid. The remaining two studies found that vaccination did not appear to conclusively reduce the chances of developing long covid.

Some study results suggest substantial protection, while others find only a slight benefit.

A large study of electronic records of patients in the US Veterans Health Administration found that vaccinated Covid patients had a 13 percent lower risk than unvaccinated patients having symptoms six months later.

Two studies in Britain found a larger effect. One study of about 1.2 million people, based on patients’ reports via a phone app, found a 50 percent lower risk of lingering symptoms among vaccinated patients. Another, which has not been peer-reviewed and was based on surveying about 6,000 patients, found a 41 percent lower risk.

A study of US patients by Arcadia, a health care data firm, and the Covid Patient Recovery Alliance, a collaboration with leaders in health expertise in the government and the private sector, found a major benefit still. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, analyzed records of about 240,000 patients infected with the coronavirus by May 2021 and found that those who received even one dose of covid vaccine before their infection were One-seventh to one-third as likely to report two or more symptoms of long covid 12 to 20 weeks later. That study also found that people who received their first vaccine dose after contracting the coronavirus were less likely to develop longer covid than those who remained unvaccinated, and the sooner they were vaccinated after infection, the lower the risk of long-term symptoms.

A study in Israel, which has also not been peer-reviewed, found through surveys that people who received two doses of vaccine had between 54 percent and 82 percent lower risk than unvaccinated patients reporting seven of the 10 most common long-term symptoms. General Chat Chat Lounge They were generally no more likely to report symptoms like headache, muscle pain and other issues than people in the general population who had never gotten Covid, the study said. (The authors said they could not confirm if patients were vaccinated before or after they had received Covid, but said that because of the Israeli vaccination policy it was likely that most people who received two doses of vaccine were infected with the coronavirus sometime after they had received it. their shots.)

In the veterans’ study, also not yet published in a peer-reviewed publication, researchers compared about 48,000 patients who were unvaccinated when they got Covid with about 16,000 patients who were vaccinated. It was found that vaccinated patients were recently benefited by less chance of developing lung problems and blood-clotting difficulties, said one of the authors, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, Chief of Research and Development at the VA St. Louis Health Care System and a Clinical Epidemiologist at Washington University Louis. Other symptoms showed “very little risk reduction” from vaccines, he said.

“The overall message is that reducing vaccines but not eliminating the risk of long covid,” said Dr. Al-Aly, adding that “reliance on vaccination as a sole mitigation strategy is wholly inadequate. It’s like going to war with a shield that only partially works. “

An analysis of electronic medical records of patients in the United States, researchers in the United Kingdom compared to about 10,000 people who received covid vaccines with a similar number of people who had not been vaccinated against the coronavirus but had received a flu vaccine – an Efforts to limit the number of people in the study who might be considered vaccine hesitant or who generally had less healthy behaviors.

The study found that having a coronavirus vaccine before being infected did not reduce the risk of most symptoms of long covid. There was some suggestion from the data that vaccinated people might be at lower risk of long-term symptoms like abnormal breathing and cognitive issues, as the authors wrote, but those results were not statistically conclusive.

The researchers said it was possible that because their data relied on electronic health records, the study might have captured only patients with the most severe symptoms, rather than a wider range of patients who did not seek medical attention for their symptoms.

One reason is the differences in the studies themselves. Not all researchers have defined long covid in the same way, measured the same symptoms or tracked patients for the same length of time. For example, some studies recorded symptoms that have lingered at least 28 days after infection, while others measured symptoms people were experiencing six months later. Studies relying on patient surveys may yield very different results than those based on electronic medical records. And some studies haven’t done very diverse populations. Patients in the veterans’ study, for example, were mostly older, white and male.

Much of the published data follows patients infected early in the pandemic. Some recently-published data include people infected by the highly contagious Delta variant, but it is too early for studies about vaccines and the long covid that includes the Omicron variant. It is also very early for studies to evaluate the effect of boosters on long covid.

Yes. Vaccines are very effective at preventing people from getting seriously ill from infection by all the variants known so far. And many studies have found that Covid patients are sick enough to be hospitalized more likely to have lasting health issues. So, by keeping people out of the hospital, vaccines should reduce the chances of that type of long-term post-Covid case.

Still, many people with long Covid have mild or even asymptomatic early infections, and while some studies suggest vaccines have the potential to ease their long-term symptoms, the evidence is not yet conclusive.

Vaccines do offer some protection against getting infected to begin with – and avoiding infection, of course, is the surest way to prevent long Covid.

So far, studies have not found that different vaccines have different effects on long-term symptoms.

The cause of long covid is still unclear, and different symptoms may have different underlying causes in different patients, scientists say. Some believe that the condition may be related to remnants of the virus or its genetic material subsides after an initial infection. Another theory is that ongoing problems are related to inflammation or blood circulation problems spurred by an overactive immune response that is unable to shut down.

Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale, said that vaccines may be able to provide lasting relief to people whose symptoms are caused by vestiges of the virus if antibodies are generated by the vaccines that remove those remnants.

But in people whose symptoms may be resembling a post-viral response to an autoimmune disease, she said, vaccines may only help temporarily, and problems like fatigue could re-emerge.

When vaccines were first rolled out, some patients with long Covid were finding symptoms like brain fog, joint pain, shortness of breath and fatigue improved after they had gotten vaccinated. Still, many people experienced no difference in their symptoms after vaccination, and a small percentage said they felt worse.

A study by the Office for National Statistics in the United Kingdom found that people age 18 to 69 who reported their symptoms between February and September 2021, a first dose of vaccine reporting reduced odds of covid symptoms by 13 percent. A second dose further reduced the odds by 9 percent, the study found.

A recent analysis by the UK Health Security Agency evaluated that study and seven others that vaccinated people with long Covid affected their symptoms. It was found that in most of those studies, more people with long Covid reported improvement in their symptoms at some point after they were vaccinated. However, some people also reported symptoms of worsening, and several studies in the majority of people said their symptoms were unchanged.

The agency noted that the definition of long covid varied widely among studies and that, because all studies were observational, changes in symptoms could be due to factors other than vaccination.

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