Covid vaccination is known to provide protection against severe symptoms of Covid-19 and hospitalisation, but does it help easing long Covid symptoms too? According to a new study, even vaccinated people with mild breakthrough infections can experience long Covid’s debilitating and lingering symptoms that affect the heart, brain, lungs and other parts of the body. The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, also shows that vaccination against Covid-19 reduced the risk of death by 34 per cent and the risk of getting long COVID by 15 per cent, compared with unvaccinated patients. (Also read: Long Covid: Why people are seeking unproven therapies like ‘blood washing’)
The study also finds that vaccines were able to prevent some of the worrisome manifestations of long Covid like lung and blood-clotting disorders which declined about 49 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively, among those who were vaccinated.
Dr Sanket Jain, Consultant Chest Physician-Pulmonologist, Masina Hospital, Mumbai says a very small percentage of vaccinated people experience long Covid. The vast majority of people with long Covid are unvaccinated.
“Some of the symptoms which people experience in vaccinated long Covid are low-grade fever, malaise, generalized weakness, severe dry cough, shortness of breath, palpitation, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, fungal skin rashes, head aches, and runny nose,” Dr Jain told HT Digital.
“Long covid symptoms can happen irrespective of vaccination. Lethargy, dizziness, nausea, ability to concentrate, mental fogging, fatigue, and loss of appetite are all symptoms of long Covid and they are more common in the elderly population. It is important that it should be identified early and managed accordingly because long covid is very difficult to diagnose on an independent basis,” says Dr Puneet Khanna, HOD and Consultant Respiratory Medicine, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka.
In some people, long Covid lasts for months or years and may even cause disability. Long Covid is found more often in people who have had severe Covid. It can also be seen in people who have had mild illnesses. People with comorbidities like diabetes, mellitus, eschemic heart disease, immunocompromised state on chemotherapy, and chronic kidney disease are more prone to long-term Covid illness if they get infected.
“People who experience long Covid mostly report commonly report tiredness, fever, and malaise as general symptoms. Shortness of breath, dry cough, chest pain, and heart palpitations are respiratory and cardiac symptoms. Anxiety or depression, sleep problems, headaches, lightheadedness are neurological symptoms.
Other symptoms include diarrhea, pain in the abdomen, joint and muscle pains, rashes (fungal), and diarrhea.
In our day-to-day practice, we observe patients with increased myocardial infarction, diabetes, and pulmonary embolism at an early age. Persistence of cough and increased susceptibility to infections have also been observed,” Dr Jain.