UKHSA review shows vaccinated less likely to have long COVID than unvaccinated

February 16, 2022

A new review by UKHSA has demonstrated that those vaccinated for COVID have a lower likelihood of developing long COVID than those who have not been vaccinated.


For most people symptoms of long COVID are short-lived and resolve overtime. But for some, symptoms can be more severe and disrupting to their daily lives.

If you’re experiencing unusual symptoms particularly for longer than 4 weeks after infection, you should consider contacting your GP.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UKHSA

An estimated 2% of the UK population have reported symptoms of long COVID or post-COVID syndrome, which can last for more than 4 weeks after their initial infection. The 3 most common symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle or joint pain.

Eight of the studies in the review looked at the effect of vaccinations administered before infection. Most of these studies suggest that vaccinated people (one or 2 doses) were less likely to develop symptoms of long COVID following infection compared with unvaccinated people – in the short term and long term (4 weeks up until 6 months after infection).

The data from some of the studies included in the review suggests that:

  • people with COVID-19 who received 2 doses of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Janssen vaccine, were about half as likely as people who received one dose or were unvaccinated to develop long COVID symptoms lasting more than 28 days
  • vaccine effectiveness against most post-COVID symptoms in adults was highest in people aged 60 years and over, and lowest for younger participants (19 to 35 years)

The remaining studies looked at the effects of vaccination among people who already had long COVID symptoms.

Four studies specifically compared long COVID symptoms before and after vaccination. Three of these studies suggested that more people with COVID-19 reported an improvement than a worsening in symptoms after vaccination, either immediately or over several weeks.

GOV UK article: UKHSA review shows vaccinated less likely to have long COVID than unvaccinated

The effectiveness of vaccination against long COVID: A rapid evidence briefing

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