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Vaccine offers only modest protection against long-term COVID-19
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Vaccine offers only modest protection against long-term COVID-19.
A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System:
Even vaccinated people with a mild breakthrough COVID-19 infection experience persistent debilitating symptoms that affect the heart, brain, lungs and other parts of the body.
Analysis of more than 13 million veterans also found that vaccination against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, reduces the risk of death by 34% and the risk of long-duration COVID-19 by 15%, compared with unvaccinated people with COVID-19 risk.
However, the vaccine showed the most effective effect in preventing some of the most worrisome manifestations of long-duration COVID–lung and blood-clotting disorders–falling by about 49% and 56%, respectively, among those who received the vaccine.
The study was published May 25, 2022 in the journal Nature Medicine.
“Vaccination remains critical in the fight against COVID-19,” said lead author Dr Ziyad Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis. “Vaccination reduces the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. But The vaccine appears to provide only modest protection against long-term COVID-19. People recovering from breakthrough COVID-19 infections should continue to monitor their health and see health care if lingering symptoms make it difficult to carry out daily activities doctor.”
The researchers included patients who had received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or one dose of the J&J/Janssen vaccine as fully vaccinated.
At the time of the study, the database used in this study did not include information on whether patients received boosters.
Al-Aly said: “Now that we understand that COVID-19 can have lingering health consequences even in people who are vaccinated, we need to start developing mitigation strategies that can be implemented in the long term, as COVID-19 does not appear to be very Gone,” he is also director of research and development for the VA St. Louis Health Care System. “We need to urgently develop and deploy additional layers of protection that can be implemented on an ongoing basis to reduce the risk of long-term COVID.”
That layer of protection could include nasal vaccines that are more convenient or potent than current injections, or other types of vaccines or drugs designed to minimize the risk of long-term COVID.
“Infection with COVID-19 is almost inevitable, even in vaccinated people,” Al-Aly said, noting that 8 to 12 percent of vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections may develop long-course COVID. “Our current practice is likely to leave large numbers of people with chronic and potentially disabling diseases for which there is no cure. This affects not only people’s health but also their ability to work, life expectancy, Economic productivity and social welfare. We need a frank national conversation about the consequences of our current practices.”
Since the pandemic began, more than 524 million people worldwide have been infected with the virus; more than 6 million of them have died — including more than 1 million in the United States alone.
“Assume SARS-CoV-2 is here for 10 years,” Al-Aly continued. “People are tired of wearing masks and social distancing, and asking them to continue doing this is simply not sustainable. We need to come up with more layers of protection that allow us to get back to normal life while coexisting with the virus. The current vaccine is just a solution part of the program.”
For the study, the researchers analyzed the de-identified medical records of more than 13 million veterans.
The records are in a database maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the nation’s largest integrated health care system.
The researchers examined data from 113,474 unvaccinated patients with COVID-19 and 33,940 vaccinated patients who experienced a COVID-19 breakthrough infection, all obtained between January 1 and October 31, 2021.
Among them, COVID-19 patients were mostly older white men; however, the researchers also analyzed data that included more than 1.3 million women and adults of all ages and races.
The study did not include data involving the Omicron variant of the virus, which began spreading rapidly in late 2021.
However, Al-Aly said, previous research has shown that the vaccine is effective against all current variants.
Among other findings from the study:
- In addition to complications involving the heart, brain, and lungs, other symptoms associated with prolonged COVID-19 include diseases involving the kidneys, blood clotting, mental health, metabolism, and the gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal systems.
- Vaccinated people with a breakthrough infection had a 17% higher risk of long-duration COVID than previously healthy, vaccinated people.
- An analysis of 3,667 vaccinated people hospitalized with a breakthrough COVID-19 infection showed they had a 2.5 times higher risk of death than those hospitalized with the flu. They also had a 27% higher risk of developing long-term COVID in the first 30 days after diagnosis, compared with 14,337 people hospitalized with seasonal flu.
The datasets also compared long-term health outcomes to a pre-pandemic control group of 5.75 million people (meaning they never had COVID-19 because it didn’t exist yet).
Overall, people who have broken through COVID-19 face significantly higher risks of death and illness, such as heart and lung disease, neurological disease and kidney failure.
“A series of findings suggest that the death and disease burden experienced by breakthrough COVID-19 infections is not trivial,” Al-Aly said.
Vaccine offers only modest protection against long-term COVID-19
(source:internet, reference only)