Vaccination After SARS-CoV-2 Infection May Cut Long COVID Risk

Initial decrease in odds for long COVID seen after first vaccine dose with evidence suggesting sustained improvement after second dose

A young woman in a mask decided to get vaccinated against the coronavirus during the pandemic by an experienced doctor in the laboratory
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MONDAY, May 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- For adults who test positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), COVID-19 vaccination after infection is associated with a reduced likelihood of long COVID symptoms, according to a study published online May 18 in The BMJ.

Daniel Ayoubkhani, from the Office for National Statistics in Newport, England, and colleagues conducted an observational cohort study to estimate the associations between COVID-19 vaccination and long COVID symptoms in adults with SARS-CoV-2 infection before vaccination. Data were included for 28,356 participants aged 18 to 69 years who received at least one dose of vaccine after testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. Patients were followed for at least 12 weeks after infection during the period Feb. 3 to Sept. 5, 2021.

The researchers found that during follow-up, 23.7 percent of participants reported long COVID symptoms of any severity at least once. A first vaccine dose was associated with an initial decrease of 12.8 percent in the odds of long COVID, with subsequent data compatible with increases and decreases in the trajectory. A second vaccine dose was associated with an initial decrease of 8.8 percent in the odds of long COVID, followed by a subsequent decrease of 0.8 percent per week. There was no heterogeneity in the associations between vaccination and long COVID by confounding variables, including sociodemographic characteristics, health status, and vaccine type.

"Our 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," the authors write.

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