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COVID-19 vaccine appears to improve common symptoms of long-haulers

Alcohol swabs, adhesive bandages, and heart-shaped stickers that read "Swedish COVID Hero" are shown at a mass vaccination clinic at Seattle University put on by Swedish Medical Center, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

There is some indication that the vaccine may help improve the symptoms experienced by COVID-19 “long-haulers,” or patients who have COVID-19 symptoms for months or even a year after being infected.

UW post-COVID clinic treating ‘long-haulers’ sees multifold increase in patients

Dr. Janna Friedly with University of Washington Medicine’s Rehabilitation Medicine Clinic says they have seen some improvement in long-haulers who get the COVID-19 vaccine. At the very least, she says, you should get the vaccine if you’ve had COVID-19 because it won’t make long-term symptoms worse.

“There’s been a lot of reports recently of people who have had COVID who get the vaccine and seem to have improvement in their longer term symptoms. So we’re certainly seeing some cases of that,” Friedly said during a briefing Monday with state hospital leaders.

UW Medicine has seen an incredible increase in demand for rehabilitation due to long-term COVID-19 effects, even in people who had just mild or moderate sicknesses.

“We’re seeing 50 or more new referrals every week for mostly people who had these mild to moderate COVID infections initially, and sometimes up to a year earlier,” Friedly said.

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Those long-term symptoms can include significant fatigue, headaches, impaired ability to think clearly or brain fog, heart rate instability, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.

Between 10-30% of COVID-19 patients end up with these problems.

KIRO Radio’s Nicole Jennings contributed to this report.

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