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Breakthrough infections can lead to long COVID, new research suggests

Fully vaccinated people can get long COVID if they’re infected with the coronavirus

SHARE Breakthrough infections can lead to long COVID, new research suggests
Mark McComb is tested for COVID-19.

Mark McComb is tested for COVID-19 at the Mount Olympus Senior Center parking lot in Millcreek on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Fully vaccinated people infected with the novel coronavirus can experience long-term symptoms, an experience otherwise known as “long COVID-19.”

Those who experience “breakthrough” infections — which happen when fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 — can experience persistent symptoms of COVID-19 long after infections, according to researchers at Oxford University.

  • The researchers in the U.K. reviewed data on nearly 20,000 U.S. COVID-19 patients for the study. Half of those patients were fully vaccinated.
  • The study — which has not been peer-reviewed — has been published on medRxiv.

Fully vaccinated people experienced a lower risk of death and severe complications tied to their coronavirus infections, including “lung failure, need for mechanical ventilation, ICU admission, life-threatening blood clots, seizures, and psychosis,” per Reuters.

  • The researchers said that these findings suggest “previous vaccination does not appear to protect against several previously documented outcomes of COVID-19 such as long COVID features, arrhythmia, joint pain, Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, sleep disorders, and mood and anxiety disorders.” 

Long COVID-19 has been an ongoing issue for many coronavirus patients. Dr. Keith W. Roach, an internist in New York, said in July there’s not enough data yet to know if fully vaccinated people experience long-term coronavirus symptoms, according to OregonLive.com.

But, he said, fully vaccinated people experience less symptoms from their coronavirus infections, so it’s unlikely vaccinated people will get long COVID-19.

  • “I am hopeful that the COVID vaccines will be analogous to what we see with the shingles vaccine — it reduces the likelihood of getting shingles, but also reduces the likelihood of long-term complications from shingles, even in those who get shingles despite the vaccine. However, this is a guess until there are good studies,” he said.

Some research suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine can help people recover from long COVID symptoms, too. So experts have encouraged those with long COVID-19 to get vaccinated.