Double vaccination reduces risk of Long COVID by 49%

risk of long covid
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Double vaccinated adults are 49% less likely to have Long COVID if they were to contract COVID-19, according to a new study

According to a new study by researchers from King’s College London, adults who have received two doses of the vaccine are 49% less likely to have Long COVID if they become infected with COVID-19.

The research also found that hospitalisations were 73% less likely and the burden of acute symptoms was 31% less likely.

However, people living in the most deprived areas and those with health conditions were up to two times more likely to contract COVID-19 infection after a single vaccination dose, highlighting the need to target at-risk groups.

Lead researcher Dr Claire Steves from King’s College London said: “In terms of the burden of Long COVID, it’s good news that our research has found that having a double vaccination significantly reduces the risk of both catching the virus and if you do, developing long-standing symptoms. However, among our frail, older adults and those living in deprived areas the risk is still significant and they should be urgently prioritised for second and booster vaccinations.”

Common symptoms of Long COVID include:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Pins and needles
  • Joint pain
  • Rashes
  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • Changes to smell or taste
  • High temperature
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain/tightness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea & Diarrhoea

Unfortunately, there are no current treatments available but research is being funded as figures suggest nearly a million people are living with the condition in the UK.

Professor Tim Spector from King’s College London and Lead investigator of ZOE COVID Study comments: “Vaccinations are massively reducing the chances of people getting Long COVID in two ways. Firstly, by reducing the risk of any symptoms by 8 to 10 fold and then by halving the chances of any infection turning into Long COVID, if it does happen. Whatever the duration of symptoms we are seeing that infections after two vaccinations are also much milder, so vaccines are really changing the disease and for the better. We are encouraging people to get their 2nd jab as soon as they can.”

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “COVID-19 vaccines have saved more than 105,000 lives and prevented over 24 million infections in England alone. This research is encouraging, suggesting vaccines are not only preventing deaths but could also help prevent some of the longer-lasting symptoms.

“We have invested £50 million in research to better understand the lasting effects of COVID and over 80 long COVID assessment services have opened across England as part of a £100 million expansion of care for those suffering the effects.

“It is clear vaccines are building a wall of defence against the virus and are the best way to protect people from serious illness. I encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward for both their jabs as quickly as possible.”

Data was collected from 1,240,009 (first dose) and 971,504 (second dose) participants logging their symptoms, tests and vaccines on the UK ZOE COVID Symptom Study app between 8th December 2020 and 4 July 2021.

The full study has been published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.


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