Friday, February 23, 2024

Vaccinations Significantly Decrease the Risk of Long COVID

Individuals who were vaccinated before being infected by the COVID-19 virus are four times less likely to be diagnosed with Long COVID, compared to those who were not vaccinated, according to a new study, which was published in the scientific journal, the BMJ.

And it’s not surprising. For years, research has shown that while those who are vaccinated can develop symptoms of Long COVID, their risk is much lower compared to those who are unvaccinated.

However, scientists haven’t been able to determine the exact amount of protection that a shot provides against Long COVID, with findings ranging from 15 percent to 50 percent efficacy.

the bmj
The observational study, which was published in the BMJ, looked at the health records of more than 580,000 individuals in Sweden

According to the new study, those who were vaccinated before being infected by the COVID-19 virus for the first time are much less likely to develop chronic symptoms such as fatigue, and brain fog. Each additional booster also offers extra protection against Long COVID.

It’s estimated that a single pre-infection show lowers the risk by approximately 21 percent, two doses lower the risk by nearly 60 percent, and three or more doses lower the risk by over 70 percent.

To get to those numbers, scientists examined data from over half a million Swedish adults who were infected by the COVID-19 virus for the first time from December 2020 to February 2022. According to national vaccine records, approximately half of those people had received at least one vaccination before becoming ill, while the rest did not receive a vaccine.

Using their health records, scientists were then able to determine the number of people who were later diagnosed with Long COVID.

long covid symptoms
Long COVID symptoms include headache, ‘brain fog’, cough, shortness of breath, and loss of taste or smell

The number of diagnosed cases was generally low during the study’s follow-up period but were even less common among those who had received a vaccine dose before becoming ill. While 1,.4 percent of unvaccinated individuals were diagnosed with Long COVID, only 0.4 percent of those who had their vaccinations were diagnosed.

The authors of the study also acknowledged the difference between being diagnosed with Long COVID and having COVID as some healthcare professionals may not have known how the assess the condition, which was still emerging at the time.

Because of this, prevalence estimates are likely to be higher than what was seen in the study.

covid vaccine
Those who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose are much less likely to develop long-term symptoms

The study, which was observational in nature, also has its limits as it can only discover patterns, and not prove cause and effect. Still, the trends that were discovered are promising, seeing as how over 5.5 million individuals worldwide have already received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The study also showed that the vaccinations were especially effective for those between the ages of 55 and 64.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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