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expert reaction to data from ONS on vaccination and self-reported long-COVID

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have released the latest estimates of the association between COVID-19 vaccination and self-reported long COVID in people infected prior to vaccination, using data from the COVID-19 Infection Survey.


Dr Fergus Hamilton, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, said:

“This research from the ONS is timely and interesting. It focuses on patients who have previously been infected with COVID-19, and their symptoms both before and after the first and second COVID-19 vaccine. Like all of the research from the ONS, it is well conducted and is clear in its findings.

“This research is very reassuring to people who are suffering with prolonged symptoms after COVID-19. Firstly, as shown in other cohorts, there is an improvement over time with symptoms. Secondly, as shown in previous research, there does appear to be a observed benefit of vaccination in reducing symptom burden in patients who have been previously infected. This has now been shown in multiple cohorts, and suggests that the observed finding is likely true. The major questions – which are hard to unpick from research like this – is whether the association is causal, and what the mechanism of the association might be.  There is the potential for a ‘placebo’ effect, whereby getting vaccination – which is associated with symptoms, may somehow alter perception of other symptoms. Regardless, the findings are intriguing and should be reassuring to people who are concerned that vaccination might make their symptoms after COVID-19 worse.”



Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination and self-reported long COVID in the UK, 25 October 2021 



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