Vaccinated less likely to develop long Covid - Institute for Respiratory Health

Vaccinated less likely to develop long Covid

Monday, April 18, 2022 | News

Long Covid isn’t fully understood, and there’s no internationally-agreed definition – so estimates of how common it is, or what the main symptoms are, vary.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has proposed a working definition:

Signs and symptoms that develop during or after an infection consistent with COVID-19 but continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis. It usually presents with clusters of symptoms, often overlapping, which can fluctuate and change over time and can affect any system in the body.


Symptoms can include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness
  • Problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
  • Changes to taste and smell
  • Joint pain.

But patient surveys suggest a range of other symptoms may also be present, including gut problems, insomnia and vision changes.

One research study suggests Covid may affect the brain, with a slight shrinkage in size, visible after infection. Another suggests some people have lung abnormalities.

These symptoms can have other causes too.

Who is at risk?

This is difficult to determine as not enough data has been obtained. But on average it seems it is more common in women than men and the risk is higher for people with more severe disease.

Research on how best to improve the lives of people with long Covid are continuing.

Professor Yuben Moodley from the Institute for Respiratory Health said: “Research shows that people who have been vaccinated are less likely to have long Covid. Infections can still occur, especially when immunity starts to wane.

“If the identified symptoms persist after more than four weeks of having Covid-19 then those affected should contact their doctor.

“The reality is we’re still learning about this virus and its long-term impact – it isn’t fully understood.”