Coronavirus vaccines may not prevent many symptoms of long-term covid, a study shows

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A large study in the United States examining whether vaccination protects against long-term covid has shown that vaccines have only a mild protective effect: vaccination appears to reduce the risk of lung and blood clot disorders, but does little to prevent most other symptoms.

The new book published Wednesday in Nature Medicine, is part of a series of studies by the Ministry of Veterans on the effects of coronavirus and is based on 33,940 people who have experienced sudden infections after vaccination.

The data confirm the large number of studies that show that vaccination significantly reduces the risk of death or serious illness. But there were more ambiguities about the long covid.

Six months after their initial diagnosis of covid, the people in the study who were vaccinated had only a slightly reduced risk of long-term covid – a total of 15 percent. The biggest benefit has been in reducing blood clotting and lung complications. But there was no difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated when it came to long-term risks of neurological problems, gastrointestinal symptoms, kidney failure and other conditions.

“It was disappointing,” said Ziyad Al-Ali, lead author and head of research and development at VA Saint Louis Health Care System. “I was hoping to see that vaccines offer more protection, especially given that vaccines are our only line of defense these days.”

The “long covid” refers to the constellation of symptoms that many people report months after their initial infections. At the start of the pandemic, some patients who complained of prolonged symptoms were rejected by doctors who thought the symptoms could be psychological. But since then, the condition has become a major concern for the medical community.

For these three long hauliers, debilitating symptoms and fatigue prevent them from returning to work – and in return, struggling to orient themselves to their new normal. (Video: Drea Cornejo, Joy Yi, Colin Archdeacon / The Washington Post, Photo: Carolyn Van Houten / The Washington Post)

The World Health Organization has identified post-coding syndrome as symptoms that last for at least two months and cannot be explained by alternative diagnoses. It cites evidence that suggests that up to 20 percent of the world’s half a billion people estimated to be infected with the coronavirus may experience medium- and long-term effects.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new estimates of the incidence of the syndrome in the United States, which suggests it affects one in five adults under the age of 65 who have had covid and one in a quarter of those aged 65 and over. more years. People in both age groups were twice as likely as uninfected people to develop respiratory symptoms and lung problems, including pulmonary embolism, the CDC found. Those in the older age group are at greater risk of developing kidney failure, type 2 diabetes, neurological conditions and mental health problems.

The Veterans Study, considered the largest peer-reviewed long-term covid analysis in the United States based on medical records, looked at patients who either had two doses of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, or one dose from Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. He did not appreciate the impact of the amplification shots. Although the study population contains a wide range of ages and racial and ethnic backgrounds, it distorts older, whiter, and younger men than the United States as a whole.

The VA study also had no way of saying how different options could alter the risk of prolonged covid. These breakthrough infections, for example, occurred at a time when alpha, delta, and previous variants were at high levels in the United States. It does not cover the period when the Omicron variant and its sub-variants began circulating at the end of 2021.

How long covid has accelerated the revolution in medical research

The findings complement the debate over similar analyzes coming from the United Kingdom, Israel and other countries, which show conflicting results on whether vaccines protect against long-term covid.

A British study published in the medical journal Lancet, for example, based on self-reported application data, shows a 50% reduction in risk among those who have been vaccinated. On the other hand, a document from researchers at the University of Oxford, based on electronic records from the United States, found that vaccination does not appear to reduce the risk of prolonged covid for most symptoms.

The issue of vaccines and long-term covid is critical for doctors. Some patients claim that the vaccine cured them, while others avoided the injections for fear of causing symptoms.

Igor Koralnik, head of the Department of Neuroinfectious Diseases at Northwestern Medicine, said recent research shows that neither is true. In an article published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology on Tuesday, Coralnik and colleagues found that 77 percent of the 52 patients with long-term covid who followed has been vaccinated against coronavirus, but the vaccines do not appear to have had a positive or negative effect on cognitive function or fatigue.

“There is a neutral effect of vaccination. Covid does not heal for a long time. That didn’t make Covid worse for long, “Coralnik said.

At the post-acute COVID syndrome clinic at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Christina Martin, an advanced practice nurse, said her staff had noticed a “worrying trend” in November that vaccinated people had sudden infections and developed prolonged covid.

When the clinic was founded a year ago, she said, they expected to see fewer new patients so far as more people were vaccinated. Unfortunately, they have seen the opposite, with the number of patients increasing.

“Now we think the long covid is here to stay. “This will have profound consequences for our health system and resources,” Martin said.

David Putrino, a longtime covid researcher who serves as director of innovation innovation for rehabilitation in the Sinai Mountains health system in New York, shares these concerns. He worries that public health leaders are not taking the current leap seriously enough because they reject the risks of long-term covid.

Putrino said demand for appointments at his medical center’s long covid clinic continues to rise and he does not expect a delay any time soon. The clinic has admitted about 2,500 patients since its opening in May 2020.

“We have failed in our health reports that death is not the only serious result of covid-19 infection,” Putrino said. “. . . I am very concerned that what he will do is bring us to the sequel to this massive disabling event that we have been watching for a long time. “

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