What’s going on?
Patients who had “long-COVID” — also known as long-haulers — across the United States have reported feeling better after they get a COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to The New York Times.
- Scientists can’t confirm whether this is true. But they’ve begun additional research into the matter to figure out if it is true.
“It’s a phenomenon that doctors and scientists are watching closely, but as with much about the yearlong coronavirus pandemic, there are many uncertainties,” according to The New York Times.
- Long-haul symptoms can include fatigue, headaches, hoarse voice, muscle pain, difficulty breathing, brain fog and more, as I’ve written about for the Deseret News.
We’ve heard about this before. In fact, Dr. Brian Lamb, who works with Allegheny Health Network, told WPXI he has seen some long-haulers report their symptoms disappeared after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
- “We are seeing the people who have the low level, almost still infected, the ones who don’t feel right and have the brain fog, fatigue ... those are the ones we are seeing getting better with the shot,” he said.
Lamb said this can happen because the vaccine offers an immunity boost. The immunity will target any lingering parts of the coronavirus inside of you.
- “You’re having all this immune response that is ramping itself up, and it’s helping to protect you from anything that may still be there, and any re-exposure ... it’s like a can of spinach from Popeye,” Lamb said.
It’s still too early
- “Too few of our participants have been vaccinated so far to really be able to provide insight into this question,” he said. “I’ve heard anecdotes as well, but I’ve seen too little data so far.”
But Dr. Anuj Mehta, who works in critical care medicine at Denver Health, told KDVR that people with long-term COVID-19 symptoms should get the COVID-19 vaccine. But he said there’s still so much unknown about the long-term symptoms to make a judgment call about whether or not the vaccine ends those symptoms.
- “The problem with COVID long-haulers is we really don’t understand the mechanism of their symptoms. We don’t think it’s related to the fact that they may have ongoing virus in their body since most of them have totally cleared the virus. And we don’t necessarily know if it’s related to a kind of antibody response,” Mehta said.