Vaccination may ease the severity of symptoms in people suffering from long Covid, early research suggests.
A study conducted by a team of scientists based in Bristol found there was “a small overall improvement” among long-haulers after they had received a Covid-19 vaccine.
The researchers said the study – which involved 44 vaccinated and 22 non-vaccinated long Covid patients – was too small “to make firm conclusions”, but insisted there was no evidence to suggest people still suffering from symptoms should avoid taking the jab.
Anecdotal reports have emerged of both a reduction and worsening of symptoms post-vaccination in people with long Covid, but this is the first study of its kind to provide data on the phenomenon.
Participants who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine between January and February were matched in terms of their symptoms at eight months with patients from the same cohort who were unvaccinated.
All were then reassessed one month after the vaccinated cohort each received their first dose. Participants were telephoned to carry out quality of life questionnaires and were asked whether their symptoms had improved, stayed the same, or worsened.
The researchers found that those who had received a vaccine “had a small overall improvement in long Covid symptoms”.
There was a 5.6 per cent decrease in worsening symptoms and 23.2 per cent increase in symptom resolution among this group, compared to 14.2 per cent and 15.4 per cent for the unvaccinated, control cohort.
There was no difference in response identified between the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines, the study added.