A study published Wednesday by British medical journal The Lancet starts off with the bad news—the overall mortality rate for COVID-19 has barely changed in the U.K., in spite of a rate of vaccination almost 20% higher than that in the United States. People are still going to the ICU. People are still dying. And even though the rate of people who are vaccinated and dying is low, it’s not zero—and not enough to make up for the unvaccinated who are dying.
But, as Stat News reports, there is definitely a good chestnut hidden among the leaves:
“We found that the odds of having symptoms for 28 days or more after post-vaccination infection were approximately halved by having two vaccine doses. This result suggests that the risk of long Covid is reduced in individuals who have received double vaccination, when additionally considering the already documented reduced risk of infection overall.”
So those who have been vaccinated continue to have a degree of protection against getting infected. If they get infected, they have a lower chance of developing illness. If they develop illness, they have a lower chance of severe illness. And this study indicates there is also a lower chance of developing “long COVID.”
Long COVID (also called PASC, for post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection) remains one of the most mysterious issues surrounding the pandemic. Sufferers have reporting persistence of classic COVID-19 symptoms like cough, or loss of the ability to taste and smell. But other problems, like persistent “brain fog,” aches, and exhaustion have also appeared.
Those afflicted with long COVID have been privy to the kind of frustrating dismissal that seems to accompany any lingering and painful disease. While most doctors have recognized this as a real condition, patients can still be easily dismissed or ignored when explaining lingering symptoms. Why COVID-19 leaves such long-term effects, or why they are so varied in location and severity, is poorly understood.
But understand this much: Getting vaccinated helps protect you against long COVID. For some, that alone could be worth it.