Vaccine Cut Odds of Long Covid by Half
New research from the UK is some of the first to examine the potential risk of experiencing lingering symptoms after a case of covid-19 in vaccinated people, a phenomenon often known as long covid. The study suggests that vaccinated people who become infected are half as likely to experience long-lasting symptoms than the unvaccinated. Importantly, this reduction in risk is in addition to the protection against any symptoms from covid-19 that vaccination already provides.
The data for this new research, published Wednesday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, comes from the COVID Symptom Study: a long-running project that’s tried to keep track of the pandemic’s spread with a free mobile app, through which people in the UK are encouraged to report any covid-like symptoms they experience and other relevant details, including whether they’ve tested positive for the virus as well as their vaccination status. The app was launched in March 2020, and there are reportedly around 4.5 million unique users. In the UK, people have access to vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, and Moderna.
The researchers compared the outcomes of around a million users who reported being partially and/or fully vaccinated to a control group of unvaccinated users. Up until July 2021, about 8,000 of these vaccinated individuals reported a confirmed breakthrough infection (less than 1% of the total sample), with only about 2,000 reporting an infection a week or more after the second dose. Compared to the unvaccinated and infected, vaccinated people were significantly less likely to report needing hospitalization, reported having no symptoms more often, and reported having less symptoms on average when they did get sick. Only about 5.2% of the fully vaccinated and infected reported experiencing any symptoms beyond 28 days, compared to 11.4% of the control group, indicating that the odds of having these longer-term symptoms were cut by 47%.
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