A large study published in the journal Nature Medicine found that COVID vaccines provide very little protection against long COVID. While the vaccines offer robust protection against severe illness and death and reduce the risk of lung and blood clot disorders, they provide little protection against other symptoms.
Researchers reviewed medical records of nearly 34,000 vaccinated individuals who had breakthrough infections and an additional 113,000 unvaccinated individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. They followed up with the individuals six months later to see if any of the patients had lingering symptoms.
They found that the vaccinated individuals were only 15% less likely to suffer from the symptoms of long COVID, which can include brain fog, numbness, tingling, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, tinnitus, and fatigue, than those who were unvaccinated. However, they did note that the vaccines reduced the risk of lung disorders and blood-clotting disorders by 50% and 56%, respectively.
“This was disappointing,” said Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, lead author of the study and chief of research and development service at VA Saint Louis Health Care System. “I was hoping to see that vaccines offer more protection, especially given that vaccines are our only line of defense nowadays.”
Doctors are still trying to understand long COVID and determine why some people continue to experience symptoms months after they have recovered from the initial infection.