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COVID Vaccine Offers Little Protection Against Long COVID Infection


While chances are higher for the unvaccinated, a recent study indicates the need for more tools against the COVID-19. According to St. Louis researchers of Washington University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Health Care System, vaccinated individuals with mild breakthrough virus conditions may experience persistent and crippling symptoms affecting the brain, heart, lungs, and other parts of the body.

Regardless, a new study of over 13 million veterans uncovered that immunization against the virus lowered the mortality rate by 34% and the possibility of developing long COVID-19 by 15%.

Vaccines can effectively prevent some of the most problematic manifestations of long COVID like lung (49%) and blood-clotting (56%) disorders which declined among vaccinated individuals.

The research journal Nature Medicine published on May 25, 2022, says that vaccination is vital against the virus and reduces the risk of hospitalization and death. However, vaccines only deliver subtle defense against long COVID.

Long COVID is an infection where people continuously experience symptoms long after contracting the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) explained that some people might experience respiratory, fatigue, and neurological symptoms as long-term effects of COVID-19.

It is crucial for people recuperating from breakthrough COVID-19 sickness to continue monitoring their health and seeing a healthcare provider if persistent symptoms make it difficult to carry out daily activities.

Courtesy of jayo128 (Flickr CC0)

Fully vaccinated patients, according to researchers, received one dose of the Janssen/J&J vaccine or two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. The database did not include whether patients received boosters when they researched to understand that COVID-19 can have lingering health consequences even among the vaccinated people. Researchers are pushing toward formulating mitigation methods because the virus may not go away soon.

Chief researcher, Al-Aly, the chief of research and development at the VA St. Louis Health Care System, said:

It is urgent to develop and deploy additional layers of protection that could be sustainably implemented to reduce the risk of long COVID.

Such defensive layers incorporate nasal vaccines or other drugs to minimize the chances of long COVID.

Even vaccinated people could get COVID-19 infection, and 12% of vaccinated people with breakthrough infections (BTI)may develop long COVID.

A BTI is an infection of a fully vaccinated individual who tested COVID-19 positive 14 days after receiving the vaccines.

Fully vaccinated people with a BTI are unlikely to develop a more severe infection than those unvaccinated and get COVID-19.

The Study’s Significance

The current study is the first to evaluate the perils of long COVID and breakthrough infections on a large scale.

Most of the patients in the analyzed data were older, white males. The participants also included over 1.3 million females from diverse races and age groups.

While the booster data was not available at the research time, the team’s ongoing study will explore the boosters’ role.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas


SciTechDaily: Vaccines Only Offer Modest Protection Against Long COVID
Medical News Today: Long COVID still a risk, even for vaccinated people
NBC News: Vaccines offer little protection against long Covid, study finds; by Kaitlin Sullivan

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Diverse Stock Photos’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of jayo128’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


Cathrine Osborne, DM

Infectious Disease Physician

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