Association of Vaccination with the Persistence of Post-COVID Symptoms

J Gen Intern Med. 2022 May;37(7):1748-1753. doi: 10.1007/s11606-022-07465-w. Epub 2022 Mar 9.


Background: Patients who have had COVID-19 often report persistent symptoms after resolution of their acute illness. Recent reports suggest that vaccination may be associated with improvement in post-acute symptoms. We used data from a prospective cohort to assess differences in post-acute sequelae of COVID (PASC) among vaccinated vs. unvaccinated patients.

Methods: We used data from a cohort of COVID-19 patients enrolled into a prospective registry established at a tertiary care health system in New York City. Participants underwent a baseline evaluation before COVID-19 vaccines were available and were followed 6 months later. We compared unadjusted and propensity score-adjusted baseline to 6-month change for several PASC-related symptoms and measures: anosmia, respiratory (cough, dyspnea, phlegm, wheezing), depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD; COVID-19-related and other trauma), and quality-of-life domains among participants who received vs. those who did not receive COVID-19 vaccination.

Results: The study included 453 COVID-19 patients with PASC, of which 324 (72%) were vaccinated between the baseline and 6-month visit. Unadjusted analyses did not show significant differences in the baseline to 6-month change in anosmia, respiratory symptoms, depression, anxiety, PTSD, or quality of life (p > 0.05 for all comparisons) among vaccinated vs. unvaccinated patients. Similar results were found in propensity-adjusted comparisons and in secondary analyses based on the number of vaccine doses received.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that COVID vaccination is not associated with improvement in PASC. Additional studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying PASC and to develop effective treatments.

Keywords: COVID vaccination; long COVID; post-acute sequelae of COVID; symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Anosmia
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Vaccination


  • COVID-19 Vaccines