UK health officials said that vaccinated people were about half as likely to have symptoms after a month.
15 February 2022
People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are less likely to suffer long Covid, according to a review.
Two doses provide a high level of protection against long Covid compared to one dose or none, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Those over the age of 60 appear to have higher levels of protection against lasting symptoms following an infection compared to younger adults, researchers found.
An estimated 2% of Britons have reported symptoms of long Covid or post-Covid syndrome.
The three most common symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle or joint pain.
Experts from the UKHSA conducted a rapid review of evidence on studies which examined the effects of vaccination on long Covid, including eight which examined the effect of vaccinations administered before infection.
Most of these studies suggest that vaccinated people were less likely to develop symptoms of long Covid following infection compared with unvaccinated people.
Further analysis found that those who had been infected and had received two doses of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Janssen vaccine, were about half as likely as people who received one dose or were unvaccinated to develop long Covid symptoms lasting more than 28 days.
It also found vaccine effectiveness against long Covid in adults was highest in people aged 60 years and older, and lowest for younger adults aged 19 to 35 years.
The review concluded that fully vaccinated people were less likely to develop long Covid or appeared to experience symptoms for a shorter time, compared with those who are unvaccinated.
The researchers also examined four studies on long Covid symptoms before and after vaccination.
They concluded that people who received a vaccination after being infected with Covid-19 reported that the duration of post-Covid symptoms was shorter compared to those who were unvaccinated.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UKHSA, said: “These studies add to the potential benefits of receiving a full course of the Covid-19 vaccination.
“Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from serious symptoms when you get infected and may also help to reduce the longer-term impact.
“For most people symptoms of long Covid are short-lived and resolve overtime.
“But for some, symptoms can be more severe and disrupting to their daily lives.
“If you’re experiencing unusual symptoms particularly for longer than four weeks after infection, you should consider contacting your GP.”
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “With more than 10,000 people in hospital with Covid, this study is a timely and important reminder that vaccines remain our best protection against the virus, reducing the chances of becoming seriously unwell as well as the effects of long Covid.
“The NHS vaccination programme has helped prevent over 100,000 hospitalisations since mid-December alone, and so the NHS is clear, when eligible book in for your vaccine without delay.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that around 1.33 million people, around one in 48, are likely to be experiencing symptoms of long Covid, including more than half a million who first had Covid-19, or suspected they had the virus, at least one year ago.