Long Haulers & Therapeutic Vaccines

Long COVID is… likely one of the mass disabling events in modern history.” — Hannah Davis (NYT)

40% of Long haulers who receive the first dose of either Pfizer or Moderna show significant improvement in their ongoing COVID symptoms

Therapeutic Vaccine


In a recent piece, UC San Diego’s Dr. Lucy Horton is quoted as saying that the relief the COVID19 vaccines have provided to many Long COVID patients would “be one of the first instances of a therapeutic vaccine, where a shot not only prevents an infection, but also helps to treat it.

She’s 100% correct given the evidence from 2020 (Fink et al., 2020) that individuals who received the influenza vaccination after SarsCoV2 infection showed improvements in their COVID19 symptoms — indicating that even the basic flu shot produced positive outcomes reflective of a potentially therapeutic vaccine.


Fink, G., Orlova-Fink, N., Schindler, T., Grisi, S., Ferrer, A. P. S., Daubenberger, C., & Brentani, A. (2020). Inactivated trivalent influenza vaccination is associated with lower mortality among patients with COVID-19 in Brazil. BMJ evidence-based medicine. doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjebm-2020-111549

Additional Therapeutic Vaccine Findings

Additional studies have found positive COVID19 outcomes for individuals who received their flu shots in 2019 or early 2020.

Wilcox et al., 2021 — Wilcox, CR, Islam, N., & Dambha-Miller, H. (2021). Association between influenza vaccination and hospitalization or all-cause mortality in people with COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study. BMJ open respiratory research , 8 (1), e000857.

Arokiaraj 2021 (published version — with companion piece on the constitutionality of compulsory vaccination laws) — Arokiaraj, M. C. (2020). Correlation of influenza vaccination and influenza incidence on COVID-19 severity. Available at SSRN 3572814.

→ Jeseňák, MM, Urbančíková, MI, & Košturiak, MMR Influenza vaccination does not increase the risk of Covid-19, nor the risk of its complicated course. [Have to use Google translate for this one]


Dr. Eric: “Over 122,000 NHS personnel have #LongCovid, out of 1.1 million people in the UK were affected by the condition. What’s the #2 occupational group? 114,000 teachers. Many are unable to work full time because of Long #COVID19 illness & brain fog.”

What can you do once you’re vaccinated?

Living with long COVID — research doc

Reuters: ”A third of COVID-19 survivors in a study of more than 230,000 mostly American patients were diagnosed with a brain or psychiatric disorder within six months, suggesting the pandemic could lead to a wave of mental and neurological problems, scientists said. Researchers who conducted the analysis said it was not clear how the virus was linked to psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression, but that these were the most common diagnoses among 14 disorders they looked at. Post-COVID cases of stroke, dementia and other neurological disorders were rarer, the researchers said, but were still significant, especially in those who had severe COVID-19. Health experts are increasingly concerned by evidence of higher risks of brain and mental health disorders among COVID survivors.

A previous study by the same researchers found last year that 20% of COVID survivors were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within three months.

The new findings, published in @TheLancet Psychiatry journal found 34% of the analyzed health records had been diagnosed with neurological or psychiatric illnesses within six months.”


Patients with Long COVID report prolonged multisystem involvement and significant disability. Most had not returned to previous levels of work by 6 months. Many patients are not recovered by 7 months, and continue to experience significant symptom burden.

Long Haulers

CDC MultiMasking Update


Brooks JT, Beezhold DH, Noti JD, et al. Maximizing Fit for Cloth and Medical Procedure Masks to Improve Performance and Reduce SARS-CoV-2 Transmission and Exposure, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:254–257. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7007e1

D-lightful Update

Vitamin D Status Is Associated With In-Hospital Mortality [Angeliki M. Angelidi et al., 2021]

A retrospective observational study including 489 patients reported an association between likely vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of COVID-19 infection
[Meltzer DO, Best TJ, Zhang H, Vokes T, Arora V, Solway J. Association of vitamin D status and other clinical characteristics with COVID-19 test results. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(9): e2019722]

From The Sunday Times: ONS Survey

“ In the ONS survey, 674,000 people said they “experienced at least some limitation” in their day-to-day activities, while nearly 200,000 said their day-to-day activities had been limited a lot.
Many “long-haulers” speak of having “good days then bad days”. Some become dizzy trying to make dinner. Others cannot summon the energy to clean their teeth. Some take all morning to get dressed. Others suffer excruciating chest pain or a racing heart.
“My life has been stripped,” says Dan Scoble, a personal trainer from Oxford. “I have no power, no control, and I don’t know when I will recover.” He set up a Facebook group called Covid UK Long Haulers, which quickly gained 600 members.
About 1/3 people with Covid received a formal neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within 6 months of infection.

Until scientists find proven treatments,

long-haulers accept that, even as lockdown restrictions ease, 2021 will bring them continuing challenges.

Read the full report here:

¨Dr. Syra Madad:

“The vast majority of people who recover from Covid-19 remain shielded from the virus for at least six months, according to a large study from Denmark. But the risk of reinfection seems to be higher among those over 65.”

Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding:

“Vaccines in pregnant women are safe & maybe protect the baby. Also,

antibody levels in response to vaccine > infection.

Thus, “even if you’ve had #COVID19, getting the vaccine will lead to a more robust antibody response”.

The 131 participants had been vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine; 84 were pregnant, 31 were lactating, and 16 were nonpregnant 18- to 45-year-old women. The study involved patients and blood samples were collected at the time of the first and second dose of vaccine, and again after six weeks.

“The levels of antibodies, which is what we’re looking for in response to vaccination, were similar between the groups,” Gray says.



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Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.