COVID-19 long haulers may see relief following vaccination; Springfield pulmonologist weighs in

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 4:32 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Some people who had the coronavirus may still feel symptoms weeks or months later. Doctors are calling them COVID-19 long haulers.

Some long-haulers are seeing relief after getting the coronavirus vaccine.

Kasey Field says although her case of COVID-19 was mild, she’s had dizziness, migraines and an elevated heart rate for an extended period of time.

”The unknown is very scary,” Field says. “I actually quit working during that time. I was scared to drive because I didn’t know if I would have a dizzy spell while driving. Especially with my children. I don’t wanna put my children in any kind of situation where I have to pull over because I’m too dizzy to drive them.”

Mercy pulmonologist, Dr. Sadaf Sohrab, says about 10-30 percent of people who had COVID-19 will experience long haul symptoms. Dr. Sohrab says some people have reported their symptoms going away after getting the vaccine, but there’s no scientific evidence to back it up just yet.

“We’ll need more long-term studies, more randomized control trials to prove or disprove that and we just don’t have that right now,” Dr. Sohrab says.

Dr. Sohrab says there are theories on why this may be happening.

“Most immunologists believe that it could be due to our immune system either re-setting or getting an extra boost,” Dr. Sohrab says. “That could be the reason why some symptoms are resolving and people are reporting that they’re getting better.”

Another theory is that there are still fragments of the virus in your body, even after you recover.

“You continue to have this inflammatory response that then maybe leads to some of these symptoms, and when you get the vaccine, you kind of jump start your immune system and you’re able to get rid of these fragments,” Dr. Sohrab says.

Dr. Sahrab says brain fog is one of the most common long-haul symptoms.

Field says she suffered from brain fog for months. Field says she would forget simple things, like why she walked into a room or what a word was.

The vaccine changed that for her.

“I feel better,” Field says. “I’m not 100% but I’m probably at about 85% better and I’m just a week out.”

However, Dr. Sohrab says that may not be the case for all patients with long-haul symptoms.

“Some patients did report that they noticed some worsening, especially after the first dose, in their symptoms,” Dr. Sohrab says.

Field says this was her first week back at work after taking a few months off because of her long-haul symptoms.

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