Getting vaccinated after a coronavirus infection could slash the risk of developing long Covid, according to a new study published Wednesday in the British Medical Journala possible glimmer of hope for developing future treatments for the millions of people still suffering symptoms months or even years after contracting the virus.
People who were vaccinated after being infected with Covid were less likely to report lingering symptoms weeks and months after infection, according to data from the UK’s Office of National Statistics.
The odds of reporting long Covid dropped by 13% after the first vaccine dose, according to the peer reviewed study, which examined data from more than 28,000 adults vaccinated after infection.
The odds dropped a further 9% after the second dose, the researchers found, and this improvement lasted for at least the nine week period when the researchers followed up with patients.
The researchers found no differences in risk across various demographic groups, the type of vaccine used, time from Covid infection to getting vaccinated or other health factors, which they said bolster the findings.
As the study was observational, it does not prove the vaccines were directly responsible for the reduced risk of long Covid, the researchers said, though it does suggest vaccination could be useful in reducing the burden of the poorly understood condition.
The researchers called for more research exploring the relationship between vaccination and long Covid on a longer time scale, particularly the risk after infection with the omicron variant, and the effect of booster doses.