Being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 not only cuts the risk of catching it, but also of an infection turning into long Covid, research led by King’s College London suggests.
It shows that in the minority of people who get Covid despite two jabs, the odds of developing symptoms lasting longer than four weeks are cut by 50%.
This is compared with people who are not vaccinated.
So far, 78.9% of over-16s in the UK have had two doses of a Covid vaccine.
Many people who get Covid recover within four weeks but some have symptoms that continue or develop for weeks and months after the initial infection – sometimes known as long Covid. It can happen after people experience even mild coronavirus symptoms.
The researchers, whose work was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, say it is clear that vaccinations are saving lives and preventing serious illness, but the impact of vaccines on developing long-lasting illness has been less certain.
“In terms of the burden of long Covid, it is 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.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said vaccines had saved more than 105,000 lives and prevented more than 24 million infections in England alone.