January 19, 2023

Effect of vaccination on persistent COVID-19 symptoms

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study led by researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, finds that more severe acute COVID-19 illness, a higher Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) score, and being unvaccinated before infection were linked to a higher risk of reporting 28 days or more of COVID-19 symptoms.

In this analysis of 1,832 COVID-19 patients, 728 (39.7%) had illness that lasted 28 days or longer. Those who were unvaccinated before infection, who reported moderate or severe initial illness, who had more hospitalized days, and who had a CCI score of 5 or more were more likely to report 28 days or more of symptoms. Postinfection vaccination was associated with a 41% lower risk of reporting symptoms at 6 months.

All patients were more likely to seek care for diabetes, pulmonary, neurology, and mental health diagnoses for at least 6 months after COVID-19 onset, compared with pre-COVID-19 patterns of healthcare use.

The findings suggest that post-COVID-19 conditions present a major burden to patients and the healthcare systems that treat them. Observational data also offer evidence that postinfection vaccination may mitigate these conditions. Taken together, they may inform the risk-benefit ratio of COVID-19 vaccination, the researchers say.

JAMA (healthcare publication) Network logo


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