Association between BNT162b2 vaccination and reported incidence of post-COVID-19 symptoms: cross-sectional study 2020-21, Israel

NPJ Vaccines. 2022 Aug 26;7(1):101. doi: 10.1038/s41541-022-00526-5.

Abstract

The effectiveness of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines against the long-term COVID-19 symptoms expressed by a substantial proportion of patients is not well understood. We determined whether vaccination with the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine was associated with incidence of reporting long-term symptoms post-SARS-CoV-2 infection. We invited individuals PCR-tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection at participating hospitals between March 2020 and November 2021 to fill an online questionnaire that included information about demographics, acute COVID-19 episode and symptoms they were currently experiencing. Using binomial regression, we compared vaccinated individuals with those unvaccinated and those uninfected, in terms of post-acute self-reported symptoms. Of the 951 infected, 637(67%) were vaccinated. In the study population, the most prevalent symptoms were: fatigue (22%), headache (20%), weakness of limbs (13%), and persistent muscle pain (10%). After adjusting for age, time from beginning of symptoms to responding to the survey, and baseline symptoms, those who received two vaccine doses were less likely than unvaccinated individuals to report any of these symptoms (fatigue, headache, weakness of limbs, persistent muscle pain) by 62%, 50%, 62%, and 66% respectively, (Risk ratios 0.38, 0.50, 0.38, 0.34, p < 0.04 in the listed sequence). Compared to the 2447 included individuals who never reported SARS-CoV-2 infection, double-vaccinated participants were no more likely to report any of the mentioned symptoms. Vaccination with 2+ doses of BNT162b2 was associated with a reduced risk of reporting most of the common post-acute COVID-19 symptoms. Our results suggest that BNT162b2 vaccination may have a protective effect against longer term COVID-19 symptoms.