I’ve been fairly interested in long COVID because I have a good friend who has been struggling with a variety of weird and debilitating symptoms since she had COVID in March 2020.
So when people bring up the low death rates as part of their arguments for why we need to “learn to live with the virus” (meaning pretend it doesn’t exist and just take our chances because we are tired of the inconvenience of the outbreak mitigation efforts), I’m always asking about the 30% who report these crazy long COVID symptoms, even after mild or asymptomatic infections.
This article is interesting because it specifically asks about the association between long COVID and breakthrough infections.
Now it’s really important to stress that the COVID-19 vaccines are still highly effective at protecting people from getting really sick or dying, and are still quite good at keeping most people from even catching the virus or getting mildly ill.
But breakthrough infections can happen, especially with the delta variant. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that unvaccinated people can develop long COVID symptoms, even from mild cases.
“We’ve seen that with the infection itself in the unvaccinated individuals about 30% of those individuals continue to have these long-haul COVID symptoms,” says Dr. Avindra Nath, who is studying long COVID at the National Institutes of Health.
So the concern is whether vaccinated people who get infected may be at risk for long COVID too, Nath says.
Seems like the answer is along the lines of there are some cases of long COVID showing up in vaccinated individuals who had breakthrough infections, but it seems to be a lower percentage compared to unvaccinated people (maybe 5%), so it’s probably a low risk.