A new study published this week suggests that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are nearly 50% less likely to develop long COVID, further cementing the importance of getting vaxxed as soon as possible.
Published in The Lancet on September 1st, the study captured the experiences of over 1 million people in the UK at different stages in their vaccine journey from December 2020 – those with one jab, those with both done, and a control group who hadn’t been vaccinated at all.
Findings from the study showed that the number of “breakthrough infections” were largely minimal – with around 0.2% of the fully vaccinated cohort reporting a COVID infection post-jab. And of those who did get a breakthrough infection, hospitalisation rates were 73% lower, and long-term symptoms were 49% lower than the unvaxxed group.
The minority were also nearly twice as likely to be asymptomatic than those who were unvaccinated and reported an infection.
Per the Sydney Morning Herald, the study’s lead author, Dr Claire Steves, said it’s very likely this is the first study that shows double vaccinations significantly reduce the presence of long COVID, and that getting the jab is the “best prevention strategy that everybody can engage in”.
“We don’t have a treatment yet for long COVID,” she said.
The study found that those who were vaccinated – or partially vaccinated – were reporting fewer symptoms than the unvaccinated group, and those that had symptoms were experiencing them for a shorter amount of time.
The new study collected data through the COVID Symptom Study, where participants had to track their test results, vax records, and symptoms using a dedicated app.
Dr Steves said there’s obviously an honesty system at play here, with the participants having to self-report, and the fact that symptoms of COVID – short and long – are varied in type and severity from person to person.
“Being out of action for six months has a major impact on people’s lives,” she said.
“If we can show that their personal risk of long COVID is reduced by getting their vaccinations, that may be something that may help them make a decision to go ahead and get a vaccine.”
All adult Aussies (yep, even if those of us under 40) are currently able to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Click here to see which clinics are offering it, and talk to a doctor for more info.
The best vaccine is the first one you can get, and that’ll be our ticket out of this mess.