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Can vaccines get rid of long COVID?

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One of the lingering mysteries of the pandemic is long COVID, the term used for a range of symptoms, from shortness of breath and fatigue to cognitive deficits, that persists many weeks or months after someone has been infected with SARS-CoV-2.

With research suggesting that up to 30% of people who have had COVID-19 are impacted by long COVID, governments have dedicated special clinics and major research funding for the condition.

The subject has also been divisive, with social media full of both support groups and skeptics. A recent French study showing some correlation between a person’s belief they had COVID-19 and their reporting of long COVID symptoms was used by skeptics to claim that the condition doesn’t exist (a conclusion the study doesn’t support). Another new study, however, suggests that vaccinations reduce the risk of long COVID, even among those who get jabbed after they’ve had COVID-19.

Bloomberg Opinion’s Therese Raphael spoke to Bloomberg Intelligence senior pharmaceutical analyst Sam Fazeli about the study and how we should be thinking about long COVID now.

Therese Raphael: When the vaccines were first being rolled out, some people with long COVID — long haulers, as they are often called in the U.S. — reported their symptoms worsening after vaccination. Has this recent study, posted on medRxiv last week and not yet peer reviewed, put some of these concerns to rest?

Sam Fazeli: This is a welcome study in an area where there has been disagreement, with at least one paper showing no impact from vaccination on risk of long COVID. With this study, the body of evidence moves in favor of vaccination lowering, but not eliminating, the risk of long COVID.

There are two key observations from it. First, they found a sevenfold to tenfold reduction in the risk of long COVID in infected people who had........

© The Japan Times

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