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Long COVID

I’ve heard some people are suffering from “Long COVID” or are so-called COVID-19 “long haulers.” What does that mean, and would the vaccine help ease their symptoms?

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
  • Headache
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Dizziness on standing
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fever
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities

How and why this so-called "long haulH phenomenon occurs remains a mystery. The National Institutes of Health has budgeted more than $1 billion to study the effects of Long COVID over the next four years in order to learn more about it.

Will getting a vaccine help?

Professor Akiko Iwasaki, a Yale immunologist, said people experiencing Long COVID-19 symptoms should get vaccinated against the disease. Initial data are showing that as many as 30% to 40% of those who get vaccinated have reported improvements to their symptoms. The vaccine generates good antibody and T-cell responses, Iwasaki said. And it has already been proven to significantly reduce both symptomatic and asymptomatic infection. She stressed that vaccines also greatly reduce the risk of reinfection.

Participate in a study

A team of Yale School of Medicine and Yale Public Health researchers is launching a study to determine the effect of vaccination on people with persistent symptoms months after SARS-CoV-2 infection, which has been termed “Long COVID.”

The researchers are very eager to learn more about Long COVID from patients. If you have been diagnosed with Long COVID or would like to learn more about the study, email covidrecovery@yale.edu. Learn more about the study.

rev. 05.14.2021