Some ‘Long-Haul' COVID-19 Survivors See Relief After Getting Vaccine

"Long haulers" are people who contracted COVID-19 and still live with side effects of the disease weeks and months after it leaving their system

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Vaccinations could offer a sliver of hope for people who are still enduring COVID-19 symptoms weeks or even months after recovering from the disease.

“Within 24 hours, I felt the best I had felt in like a year,” said Brent Boschetti, a COVID-19 long hauler.

After dealing with lingering symptoms from the disease that attacked him over a year ago, Boschetti said he’s finally starting to feel like himself again.

“I'm back to my full regular workouts, running,” said Boschetti. “I feel good."

Jennica Harris, who is just weeks away from what she calls her COVID-versary, also said she experienced a significant improvement after getting the vaccine. 

“Within an hour I felt really good,” said Harris. “I got a glimpse of my old self.”

In a survey of over 600 people who have self-reported lingering symptoms after COVID-19, 46% saw no difference after vaccination, 40% improved after getting the vaccine and 14% said they felt worse. 

The survey was conducted on Facebook by Survivor Corps, A COVID-19 patient support group founded by Diana Berrent. 

“We were looking for every side-effect, anything that could go wrong,” said Berrent. “It never crossed our minds that people could actually improve.”

Experts have proposed the idea of a prospective study to see the impact of the vaccine on long haulers, but no concrete information is available yet.

“I think there's a lot unknown, and we’ll just have to see it going forward,” said Michele Ritter, M.D., Infectious Disease Specialist at UCSD.

Dr. Ritter oversees a COVID-19 clinic at UCSD where she treats dozens of San Diegans dealing with lingering symptoms.

“In general, with these long haulers, we don't know what's going on, completely,” said Dr. Ritter. 

So as far as there is a link between lingering symptoms and the vaccine. That's something Ritter said needs to be studied more.

But at least for now, it’s some relief for some who have spent so long struggling.

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