Covid-19 vaccine

Covid vaccines effective at reducing long Covid symptoms, new study shows

The risk of long Covid symptoms was consistently reduced by vaccinations in a new study led by researchers from the University of Oxford.

A team from the university’s Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) observed how there was a significant decrease in the occurrence of long-Covid among those with the Covid vaccine, compared to without.

To come to this conclusion, Oxford University experts examined primary care electronic health data from over 20 million people from the UK and across Europe.

“Thanks to our international collaborations, we replicated our analyses using data from Spain and Estonia,” explained Dr Marti Catala, lead author of the manuscript.

“Our findings were consistent across the three countries and many different populations, emphasising the critical role that vaccination plays in protecting individuals from the long-term consequences of Covid-19.”

People were classified as having long Covid if they had:

  • At least one of 25 symptoms outlined by the World Health Organization
  • Suffered from the symptom between 90-365 days after a positive PCR test or Covid diagnosis
  • No history of that symptom 180 days before they had Covid

Dani Prieto-Alhambra, professor of pharmaco- and device epidemiology at NDORMS, commented: “Vaccines proved to be highly effective in preventing severe Covid-19 but it’s known that around one in 10 people suffer from persistent symptoms, what we call long Covid. We wanted to assess if Covid vaccines had any impact on long Covid symptoms.”

The study’s co-lead, Dr Annika Jodicke, senior pharmacoepidemiologist, said: “We were able to demonstrate how the vaccines prevented the development of persistent Covid symptoms.

“Additionally, we compared different vaccinations and found that the BNT162b2 vaccine (BioNTech/Pfizer) provided better protection against long Covid compared to the ChAdOx1 vaccine (Oxford/AstraZeneca).”

The study was published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine and funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research.

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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