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The Impact of COVID Vaccination on Symptoms of Long COVID. An International Survey of People with Lived Experience of Long COVID

21 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2021

See all articles by William David Strain

William David Strain

University of Exeter - Diabetes and Vascular Research Centre; University of Exeter - Academic Department of Healthcare for Older People

Ondine Sherwood

LongCovidSOS - Patient Advocacy Group

Amitava Banerjee

University College London

Vicky van der Togt

Independent

Lyth Hishmeh

LongCovidSOS - Patient Advocacy Group

Jeremy Rossman

University of Kent

More...

Abstract

Long COVID is a multi-system syndrome following SARS-COV-2 infection with persistent symptoms of at least 4 weeks, and frequently for several months. It has been suggested that there may be an autoimmune component.  There has been an understandable caution amongst those experiencing long COVID given the potential impact of vaccination on boosting immune response. We aimed to survey people living with Long COVID evaluating the impact of their first dose vaccination on their symptoms. 

Methods: Patients with Long COVID were invited to complete a web-based questionnaire through postings on social media and direct mailing from support groups. Basic demographics, range and severity of Long COVID symptoms, which vaccine received and impact of vaccine were collated.

Results: 900 people participated in the questionnaire, of whom 45 had pre-existing myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) but no evidence of COVID infection and a further 43 did not complete the survey in full. The demographics and symptomology of the remaining 812 people were similar to Office of National Statistics. Following vaccination, 57.9% of participants reported improvements in symptoms, 17.9% reported deterioration and the remainder no change. There was considerable individual variation in responses. Larger improvements in symptom severity scores were seen in those receiving the mRNA vaccines compared to adenoviral vector vaccines. 

Conclusions. Our survey suggests COVID-19 vaccination may improve long COVID patients on average. The observational nature of the survey limits drawing direct causal inference, but demands validation with a randomised controlled trial.

Funding: No funding was provided for this survey.

Declaration of Interest: No authors report any competing interests relevant to this manuscript.

Ethical Approval: This survey of a patient group’s contacts, independent of the NHS did not require HRA/Ethics approval

Keywords: Long COVID Vaccination Survey

Suggested Citation

Strain, William David and Sherwood, Ondine and Banerjee, Amitava and van der Togt, Vicky and Hishmeh, Lyth and Rossman, Jeremy, The Impact of COVID Vaccination on Symptoms of Long COVID. An International Survey of People with Lived Experience of Long COVID. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3868856 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3868856

William David Strain (Contact Author)

University of Exeter - Diabetes and Vascular Research Centre ( email )

Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital
Barrack Road
Exeter, EX2 5AX
United Kingdom
+441392 403058 (Phone)
+441392 403027 (Fax)

University of Exeter - Academic Department of Healthcare for Older People

Barrack Road
Exeter, EX2 5DW
United Kingdom

Ondine Sherwood

LongCovidSOS - Patient Advocacy Group ( email )

United Kingdom

Amitava Banerjee

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Vicky Van der Togt

Independent ( email )

Lyth Hishmeh

LongCovidSOS - Patient Advocacy Group ( email )

United Kingdom

Jeremy Rossman

University of Kent ( email )

CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

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