Full Version: Will the Vaccine prevent Covid Long Haul
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Because am in a pretty low risk category for death from Covid (1 in 200 on average?), I have been more concerned about Covid long haul disease for a while, and naturally I have been trying to learn whether the vaccines will protect against it. Also, I know at least 3 people — all of them younger than me — who had long-lasting symptons, like muscle aches even 4 months later. 

So assuming I get vaccinated at some point maybe in a couple months, for me, when the numbers go down I plan to re-engage in more hanging out with friends, shopping, travel, etc. But this year would I go to Disneyland or stick more with beaches? Would I watch a movie in a packed theatre on an opening Friday night or slip into an emptier weekday matinee? For me a lot of it will come down to the risks of long haul disease. (That, and concerns of mutations)

The only article I’ve found on vaccines and long haul Covid was in The Verge.

“Data from multiple COVID-19 vaccines makes it clear that the shots protect against the most severe outcomes of the disease: hospitalization and death. But it’s still unclear how well the vaccines will reduce the risk of chronic, long-term symptoms, which a small but significant number of COVID-19 patients experience.

“It’s an incredibly important question that we just don’t know the answer to,” says Timothy Henrich, a virologist and viral immunologist at the University of California, San Francisco who is studying the long-term effects of the disease.


Scientists don’t know if a muted case of the disease in someone who has been vaccinated would be enough to trigger persistent symptoms. “I think it’s likely that they could,” says Priya Duggal, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, who’s also studying long-term symptoms of COVID-19. Many people who experience chronic symptoms didn’t get seriously sick during their initial infection. “They’re not necessarily hospitalized patients. A number are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic in the early phase,” Duggal says.


One theory is that long-haulers’ immune systems didn’t manage to wipe out the virus completely during their initial infection. Even though the person is no longer infectious, they may still have bits of virus or viral fragments lingering in their body, causing damage. If that is the case, it’s possible that vaccination would prevent that from happening, says Aaron Ring, an immunologist at the Yale School of Medicine. “This is all hypothetical, but a vaccine, which can boost a very effective immune response, could promote more complete viral clearance,” he says. “In theory, if that was the mechanism, it could help prevent some of those symptoms.”

If that isn’t the mechanism, a vaccine might have less of a direct route to preventing those symptoms. Infection might provoke the immune system to attack the body, or the virus that does slip through could damage organs in a way that takes a long time to heal. If someone is vaccinated and still ends up with a mild case of disease, the virus could, in theory, still do that. “Would a vaccine interfere with that, or would a vaccine not interfere with that — that’s not known,” Duggal says.


Dine’s best guess is that we’ll see fewer people with long-term symptoms as more people get vaccinated. Right now, the percentage of people who get COVID-19 and end up with long-term symptoms is fairly high — some estimates put it around 10 percent, with others going higher. Duggal also hopes vaccination could cut that number down. “If people are vaccinated, can we drop that number to one to five percent? Can we get it lower? I’m hoping that’s what it is,” she says. “I just don’t know, but I’m hoping it’ll be fewer people.”
At about 4-months max, the initial vaccine studies might not even detect long-haulers (but most of these studies continue to watch people for 2 or 3 years).

I do think that the vaccine's reduction of the incidence of the disease in the general population (herd effect) will be the big effect that will drive the number of those with long-running symptoms to be very low.

You probably have never run into someone with polio since the 1960s. Even if your chances of getting long term effects from polio if you were to contract polio aren't reduced from the early 1950s by the vaccines, the fact that polio is non-existent in the US (since 1979) means that you don't have to worry about long-term effects.
Agree with the herd immunity as a mechanism to prevent long haul.

I heard on NPR this AM that some fraction of asymptomatic people have been found to have lung and other organ damage. It seems like they identified people from antibodies and then ran some tests on them for typical COVID damage. Admittedly, very little is known because not a lot of research has been done on this. I do not recall a percentage or anything like that. It is scary to even find a few with organ damage after asymptomatic infection. All of Snorlax' questions apply to this.

Also, this changes the equation regarding whether low risk people should get the vaccine. (1) As M_T points out, we need herd immunity to eliminate all these long haul issues, and (2) we may find that young people do get organ damage. Perhaps we'll know more in a few months.