Trajectory of long covid symptoms after covid-19 vaccination: community based cohort study
Ayoubkhani D., Bermingham C., Pouwels KB., Glickman M., Nafilyan V., Zaccardi F., Khunti K., Alwan NA., Walker AS.
AbstractObjectiveTo estimate associations between covid-19 vaccination and long covid symptoms in adults with SARS-CoV-2 infection before vaccination.DesignObservational cohort study.SettingCommunity dwelling population, UK.Participants28 356 participants in the Office for National Statistics COVID-19 Infection Survey aged 18-69 years who received at least one dose of an adenovirus vector or mRNA covid-19 vaccine after testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection.Main outcome measurePresence of long covid symptoms at least 12 weeks after infection over the follow-up period 3 February to 5 September 2021.ResultsMean age of participants was 46 years, 55.6% (n=15 760) were women, and 88.7% (n=25 141) were of white ethnicity. Median follow-up was 141 days from first vaccination (among all participants) and 67 days from second vaccination (83.8% of participants). 6729 participants (23.7%) reported long covid symptoms of any severity at least once during follow-up. A first vaccine dose was associated with an initial 12.8% decrease (95% confidence interval −18.6% to −6.6%, P<0.001) in the odds of long covid, with subsequent data compatible with both increases and decreases in the trajectory (0.3% per week, 95% confidence interval −0.6% to 1.2% per week, P=0.51). A second dose was associated with an initial 8.8% decrease (95% confidence interval −14.1% to −3.1%, P=0.003) in the odds of long covid, with a subsequent decrease by 0.8% per week (−1.2% to −0.4% per week, P<0.001). Heterogeneity was not found in associations between vaccination and long covid by sociodemographic characteristics, health status, hospital admission with acute covid-19, vaccine type (adenovirus vector or mRNA), or duration from SARS-CoV-2 infection to vaccination.ConclusionsThe likelihood of long covid symptoms was observed to decrease after covid-19 vaccination and evidence suggested sustained improvement after a second dose, at least over the median follow-up of 67 days. Vaccination may contribute to a reduction in the population health burden of long covid, although longer follow-up is needed.