Some Covid long haulers report a relief in symptoms following vaccination

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Kelly House says for months she suffered from debilitating symptoms, like headaches, fatigue, and brain fog following a Covid-19 infection last July.

“It really scared me because I was thinking is this something I am just going to have to deal with for the rest of my life,” said House.

But, House says she finally started feeling like herself again after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine last month.

“I don’t think this is psychosomatic because it’s been a month now and the headaches haven’t come back, the fatigue hasn’t come back,” said House.

House is not alone. The founder of Survivor Corps, a group of Covid-19 survivors with more than 160,000 members, says they conducted an informal Facebook survey of so-called Covid long haulers. She says out of the 962 people who participated, 40% reported an improvement in symptoms following vaccination, while 46% felt the same, and 14% reported feeling worse.

“But, a very large subset of that 14% chose not to get the second shot,” said Survivor Corps founder, Diana Berrent.

We spoke with LSU Health infectious diseases physician Meredith Clement, M.D., about why some long haulers may feel better following the vaccine.

“We do think some of the long-term effects of Covid may be due to immune dysregulation and so how the vaccine impacts the immune system may be a solution to this, but, we just don’t quite know at this point,” said Clement.

Both Clement and LCMC Health Emergency Medicine Physician, Jeffrey Elder, M.D., say more research and data are needed to fully understand the long-term effects of the virus.

“We really don’t know what to make out of it just yet but I think it’s an interesting finding,” said Elder. “It’s extremely important, even if you have had Covid in the past, to be vaccinated so you can be protected from being infected again or infected with one of the variants that are circulating out there.”

Both House and Berrent agree this is just the beginning of studying the long-term impacts of Covid, but, they say it’s certainly an encouraging start.

“We have to remember a lot of people who had Covid might have gotten the vaccine and still might be suffering and so we also need to keep that in mind, that while this might be helpful to many people, it, unfortunately, is not a panacea for everybody,” said Berrent.

“I’m not foolish thinking it’s a cure, but, I’m going to let you know my life is much better than it was a month ago,” House said.

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