COVID vaccines may help “long-haulers” with lingering symptoms, doctors say

ORLANDO, Fla. — An estimated 30 percent of COVID-19 survivors report lingering symptoms months after recovering from the virus.

Now, doctors say the COVID-19 vaccine could offer some relief to these so-called “long-haulers.” Growing numbers of survivors say their symptoms improved after getting the first shot of a vaccine.

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“We don’t know if it’s based on immunology of why these symptoms go away,” Dr. Cynthia Gries of AdventHealth says. “But there are some people that report that getting the vaccine actually helped them feel better.”

Dr. Gries is the Medical Director of Lung Transplants at AdventHealth’s Transplant Institute. She says there’s much they still don’t understand about persistent COVID-19 symptoms and how the vaccine affects them, but the news is encouraging.

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Facebook groups have been created where survivors have shared stories of their post-vaccine relief.

Dr. Gries recommends getting a dose at least three months after recovery from the virus to pick up where natural immunity wanes.

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“It gives yourself the ability to give yourself longer-lasting protection against the virus,” Dr. Gries says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has funded a nationwide study to follow 5,000 people over two years to gain more insight into long-term symptoms experienced by some COVID survivors.