Do Vaccines Reduce Your Risk Of Long COVID?

We have known for a long time that COVID-19 vaccines greatly reduce your risk of not only being hospitalized with COVID-19, but getting the virus in the first place (per CDC). However, there is still debate about whether or not vaccinated people who do get infected are any less likely to experience lingering effects known as long COVID.

Long COVID can happen to anyone, even if they are healthy and have had a mild case. According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of long COVID can last for months and may include fatigue, difficulty breathing, memory problems, chest pain, and dizziness. Long COVID can have financial and emotional consequences, interfering with work and causing anxiety and depression (per American Psychological Association).

A 2020 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association noted that around 10% of people with COVID-19 end up having long-term symptoms, but that there is no proven treatment. Could these numbers have changed since the vaccine rollout? A recent study published in The Lancet offers some insight into this question.

Do the vaccines have any impact on long COVID symptoms?

According to The Lancet, the ZOE Covid Symptom Study found that among vaccinated individuals, only 0.2% contracted COVID-19. This is to be expected, and it reduces the risk of long COVID all by itself. The study also found that among people who did get infected, vaccinated people were not only more likely to have a mild case, but they were also less likely to suffer long-term symptoms.

"We found that the odds of having symptoms for 28 days or more after post-vaccination infection were approximately halved by having two vaccine doses," said the study authors. "This result suggests that the risk of long COVID is reduced in individuals who have received double vaccination, when additionally considering the already documented reduced risk of infection overall."

With this in mind, we now know that COVID-19 vaccines are a safe and effective way to reduce the risk of not only hospitalization and death, but also long-term symptoms.