In a recent publication in Antimicrobial Stewardship & Healthcare Epidemiology, researchers conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to assess the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination against post-COVID conditions (long COVID) among fully vaccinated individuals.

From December 1, 2019, to June 2, 2023, the researchers searched for data from PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Scopus, and Web of Science for studies assessing the COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness (VE) against post-COVID conditions among fully vaccinated individuals who received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

The authors noted that a post-COVID condition was defined as any symptom that was present 4 or more weeks after COVID-19 infection. They calculated the pooled diagnostic odds ratio (DOR; 95% CI) for post-COVID conditions between fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, and vaccine effectiveness was estimated as 100% x (1-DOR).

The researchers discovered 32 studies with 775,931 individuals that evaluated the effect of vaccination on post-COVID conditions, and 24 of these studies were included in the meta-analysis.

The results revealed that the pooled DOR for post-COVID conditions among fully vaccinated individuals was 0.680 (95% CI, 0.523-0.885) with an estimated VE of 32.0% (11.5%-47.7%). Vaccine effectiveness was 36.9% (23.1%-48.2%) among those who received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine before COVID-19 infection and 68.7% (64.7%-72.2%) among those who received three doses before COVID-19 infection.

The authors wrote, “The stratified analysis demonstrated no protection against post-COVID conditions among those who received COVID-19 vaccination after COVID-19 infection. This systematic literature review and meta-analysis suggest that the pooled prevalence of post-COVID conditions was 11.8% among those unvaccinated and 5.3% among those individuals fully vaccinated.”

Based on their findings, the authors concluded that individuals who obtained a complete COVID-19 vaccination prior to contracting the virus significantly reduced post-COVID conditions throughout the study period, including during the Omicron era, and vaccine effectiveness demonstrated an increase when supplementary doses were administered.

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