Are the fully vaccinated likely to get long Covid?

A bit of scientific brooding over Covid’s statistical tea leaves tells us that the chances of getting long Covid if you’re fully vaccinated are probably small. 

But with the emphasis on probably.

Was anyone other than me worried? After all, the statistics tell us that a vaccinated person who does catch Covid will probably have a mild case. Unfortunately, though, mild cases fairly often leave people with long Covid. 

So far, the information that’s coming in is anecdotal, and the experts say that it’s too early to be certain. In six months, it’s possible that a significant number of vaccinated people will start showing up with long Covid. It’s also possible that they won’t. 

So stay tuned. That’s not the reassurance I was hoping for but it’s the best we’ve got. 

Irrelevant photo: traveler’s joy

 

Do young people have Get out of Covid Free cards?

By now, we all know that young people are unlikely to get seriously frightening cases of Covid, at least when compared with old coots. 

But that doesn’t mean they’re immune. Like anyone else, they’re liable to come down with long Covid even after a mild case of the virus, and the small number who are sick enough to be hospitalized are almost as likely to have organ damage as the old coots are–almost 4 out of 10 of them. 

The message here is that Covid is not the flu. And that young people don’t have a free pass on this.

Young, by the way, is defined as anywhere between 19 and 50. Which from where I stand looks younger all the time. 

 

Taking quarantine seriously

Australia and China have decided that the new Covid variants are too contagious for hotel quarantine to be safe. They’re planning special quarantine centers

Compare that with the way Britain’s treated quarantine, which ranges on the strict end from hotel quarantine after sharing air with passengers who won’t be quarantining to, on the loose end, go home and look in the other direction when you pass other people on your way there.

 

The Covid news from Britain

Over twelve hundred scientists from around the world have signed a letter objecting to Boris Johnson’s policy of lifting all Covid restrictions on July 19. It will, they say, help spread the Delta variant around the world.

As professor Christina Pagel put it, “Because of our position as a global travel hub, any variant that becomes dominant in the UK will likely spread to the rest of the world. . . . UK policy doesn’t just affect us–it affects everybody. . . .

“What I’m most worried about is the potential for a new variant to emerge this summer. When you have incredibly high levels of Covid, which we have now in England–and it’s not going to go away any time soon–and a partially vaccinated population, any mutation that can infect vaccinated people better has a big selection advantage and can spread.”

Some of the experts described the policy as “murderous” and “herd immunity by mass infection.” The words unscientific and unethical also came up. If you pay careful attention, you’ll come away with the impression that they’re pretty pissed off. Not to mention scared. 

In the meantime, the number of people hospitalized with Covid in Britain is doubling about every three weeks and could reach what England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, called “quite scary numbers.” Soon.

The government’s been telling us that vaccination has uncoupled the train car of hospitalizations from the accelerating engine of Covid cases. The problem is that they watched too many westerns when they were young, and uncoupling the cars from a runaway engine solved any problem involving railroads. 

Unfortunately, this is a pandemic, not a train. Or a western.

More cautious voices say they’ve weakened the link between Covid cases and hospitalization, but not uncoupled it. 

On Friday of last week, we had 50,000 cases, which is the highest  number since January. And 49 Covid deaths. 

Office for National Statistics data suggests that 1 in 95 people in England had Covid last week. I’m not sure why it only suggests that, but I’ve learned not to mess with the wording of things I don’t understand. 

The health secretary, Sajid Javid, is one of those new cases. He just came down with Covid. After having visited a care home earlier in the week–a visit that I’d guess was more pr and photo op than anything necessary. 

He’s fully vaccinated and says his symptoms are mild. He’s now self-isolating. No word on how things are going at the care home.

 

So what about Britain’s world-beating Covid tracing app?

Well, it’s been pinging a lot of people and telling them they’ve been exposed to Covid. That means they should self-isolate. Which means they should miss work. Which means the places they work, a lot fo which are already short on staff, are shorter on staff.

Which means no one’s in a good mood.

There was talk–quite definite-sounding talk–about dialing down the app’s sensitivity. People were uninstallling it, the government said, so as not to be bothered by its nagging. It was too sensitive, they said. The number of people pinged had grown by almost 50% in a week, to over 500,000. Transportation, trash collection, and health care were being affected, along with meat processing and car manufacturing. 

Then there was talk about not dialing down its sensitivity. It wasn’t too sensitive. The number of cases had grown, so of course the number of people exposed to Covid had grown right along with it.

So, the government mumbled to itself, what if we say that people who’ve had both their vaccinations are exempt from having to isolate themselves? They’ll get pinged, but they’ll be able to work? 

Last I heard, it hadn’t answered the question and was still mumbling. In other words, it’s taken the worst elements of both choices: It’s changed nothing but called the usefulness of the app into question and by saying lots of people are uninstalling it, it’s encouraged people to uninstall it. 

26 thoughts on “Are the fully vaccinated likely to get long Covid?

  1. My mother in law lives in Seattle, where she actually got very sick before we really even knew about the Coronavirus, and she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She finally recovered, only to begin going downhill in what was eventually recognized as Long Covid. She has, in fact, had both doses of vaccine, but of course that was after both Covid and Long Covid diagnoses.

    But I was glad to see this post. I know the odds are small, but I still worry about Long Covid, especially as I now have three family members who have been diagnosed. Two of them are in their twenties. It’s really scary to see the way their young lives have been destroyed, and to know there aren’t any solutions in sight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • For what it’s worth–and I’m not sure it’s much–periodically I read that many (or most, or some) people with long Covid recover over time. Or at least their symptoms decrease. None of that seems to be solid, though. Hell, they haven’t even defined long Covid yet, so how are statistics going to mean anything? The most recent article was that they’d cataloged over 200 symptoms affecting 10 systems of the body, if I’m remembering the numbers correctly. In other words, this is one scary beast. Wishing your relatives both luck and recovery.

      Liked by 3 people

        • Fingers crossed. Long Covid is, at least, being taken seriously. For a long time, similar post-viral syndromes were dismissed as psychosomatic or a problem pertaining to weepy women. I assume–although I don’t know–that the two are related. Work on, Very Smart People. We’re counting on you.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. In one of the states (I think Mississippi)with a low rate of vaccinated people there are several children on life support, so obviously even extreme youth is no guarantee of safety.
    Canada is supposed to be opening their borders, which sounds iffy…they may have changed their minds by the time this gets posted.
    This still seems to be one giant crap shoot. Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keeping border closed seems to be economically and politically difficult, although a few countries are sticking to it. Britain keeps playing tic-tac-toe with its lists of what restrictions apply to people coming from which countries (France just moved to the amber list, if I remember right) and pretending that it actually means something.

      I’ve read a number of articles about young kids and Covid and you’re right, youth is no guarantee. Not many of them get seriously ill, but some do and it’s dangerous as hell. I suspect that if the pandemic hadn’t desensitized us to illnesses and deaths, it would get lots of ink and we’d all be paying attention to it.

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  3. One statistic I haven’t seen that might be useful or predictive: The % of vaccinated people in any given area plus the % of people in that area who have already had Covid. If we knew, for instance, that those two figures added up to a significant percentage of the population, it would be somewhat reassuring. (And I’d probably still worry….) Alisa

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never seen figures for that. I suspect no one’s tracking them, especially since the number of people who’ve had Covid in any given area would be hard to track. Not only do people still move around, not every case is tracked. Asymptomatic ones are still likely to be missed but would be statistically important. In the early days, no one was tracking cases and no testing was available.

      And immunity from a previous case is, they say, less protective than vaccination.

      I’d still worry too. In fact, I do still worry. As the country skips merrily toward the cliffs, I have moments of thinking, What the hell, I’m vaccinated. My partner’s vaccinated. Life looks normal. Wheee!

      Then I wake up. Normal is not a good idea just now. I’m 99.9% sure of that.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I don’t understand this. Doesn’t England have a really high vaccination rate? Google says high 80s to low 90s across the UK. Off course the vaccine means people won’t get it as badly, not that they won’t get it at all… But in the US, where the vaccination rate is below 50%, reports all indicate that people being hospitalized for covid are almost all unvaccinated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does have a high vaccination rate–not, I think, as high as 80%, but still high. And don’t trust me to remember numbers. Some of those will be people who’ve had only once injection and are waiting for the second, so thy have less resistance, especially to the now-dominant Delta variant. Younger people are far less likely to have been vaccinated–they started with the elderly and worked down. Kids are completely unvaccinated. In some communities, the take-up on vaccination has been lower.

      So we’ve got these gaps.

      In addition, the vaccines are amazingly effective but still not 100%, so a certain number of people who’ve been vaccinated will catch Covid–especially with the Delta variant–leaving open the possibility of long Covid (which is where we came in). Far fewer than without vaccines, but still some. Most of those will catch a mild case, although some even smaller percentage will get a serious case and be hospitalized.

      When enough people have been vaccinated, most of the people hospitalized w/ Covid will have been vaccinated, leaving the antivaxers to say, see? It doesn’t work! It does. The vaccines will have massively reduced the number of seriously ill people, but unfortunately they’re not 100% effective.

      Does that make sense of it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • What puzzles me is that the UK is supposedly facing crisis-level infection numbers, even though its vaccination rate is nearly double that of the US. (I verified this.) In the US, the incidence of infection among vaccinated people is WAY down.

        I don’t expect you to have the answers. I’m just puzzled … Maybe a bit worried. Back to wearing a mask when I go shopping. Ugh.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Part of the problem, I think, is that the level of immunity we’d need to reach herd immunity with this disease is horribly high–it’s just too infectious for Britain to be at a point where it can safely relax its precautions. I’m sure the incidence of infections among vaccinated people is no higher in Britain than in–

          Okay, I’m not sure of that. I was going to say than in the US, but the Delta variant is more widespread here, so that may be affecting the numbers.

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      • […] leaving the antivaxers to say, see? It doesn’t work! […]

        Pretty sure I shouldn’t say this, because (so I understand) it’s necessary to persuade, and you can’t do that if you’re demeaning, but: you can’t argue with stupid.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah, it’s getting a bit scary, but the general population have had enough of restrictions I think, if the crowds in London were anything to go by when I had to go there a couple of weeks ago. I’m lucky to have got out alive, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you’re wrong but I can’t argue, since I have nothing at hand to argue from. I went looking for any polling on the subject and found nothing current. What I am seeing, though, is a sense (among people who basically know this isn’t true) that things have gone back to normal. Which is, yes, scary.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The more I read about covid, the more I wonder why European countries don’t simply all make masks still compulsory? it’s a stupidly simple measure that would have enormous (good) results…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely. It’s low cost and it’s effective. My best guess is that it gets into that whole culture war stupidity. They want to be seen as opposing–oh, hell, I don’t know what. A symbol of joyless responsibility, maybe. Or an idea that seems to have come from Asia. A reminder that we’re all in this together and can’t act effectively if we act as it’s-all-about-me individuals. I have no idea, basically, but people in the future are going to look back (if humans last long enough) and shake their heads over us.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. This whole thing continues to be a disaster. We’ve just loosened restrictions here too and I’m just waiting for it to spike again, thanks to all the covidiots who refuse to be vaccined and a government that refuses to enforce masking.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was the refusal to introduce masks that got us to the brink of disaster so quickly when this whole mess started. On the theory that people just wouldn’t wear them.

      Say that often enough and people won’t.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I wonder if a number of people who choose to be vaccinated aren’t also the same people who are (and have always been) cautious in other ways about COVID and passing on germs in general? In this way the cautious, vaccinated people who do not get sick with COVID are the same folks who were going to be careful anyway (washing their hands, keeping their distance in public etc.) thereby lowering the number of vaccinated with COVID that you mention in your post? Mind you I say ‘some’ not all. I’m definitely not positioned to argue this…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting thought, but I doubt anyone’s tracking that so I won’t pretend to know. From a small and unscientific survey of my friends, though, I can report that although we all consider ourselves cautious, we all seem to have different definitions of caution.

      Like

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