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Could vaccination reverse long COVID?

A woman lies awake in bed.

Could getting a COVID-19 shot help COVID long-haulers recover from their lingering symptoms?

No one knows for sure yet. But recent reports have some long-haulers and researchers asking that question.

Curious clues

Long COVID is a condition we're still learning about. It's when people who've had COVID-19  have lingering or new health issues months after they were infected. Many of these long-haulers have connected online to share information and discuss their health challenges. And some say their symptoms improved or even went away after they got their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

In an informal social media survey, 32% of long-haulers said they either felt better or were totally recovered after their shot.

This would be great news if true, of course. But it's too early to tell exactly what's going on. We will need scientific studies to find that out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.

How might it work?

Researchers are eager to find answers. It has been speculated that the boost to the immune system from the vaccine could be the key. It might help rid a long-hauler's body of any lingering virus. But we don't know for sure yet.

One thing we do know? People who've already had COVID-19, including long-haulers, should plan on getting a vaccine, CDC recommends.

That's because we don't know yet how long natural immunity to the virus will last after you've had COVID-19. There's a chance you could get infected again.

People who received certain treatments for COVID-19 may need to wait several weeks before getting the vaccine, according to CDC. So talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Reviewed 9/19/2021

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