COVID-19 long haulers experiencing mixed reactions to vaccine

COVID-19 long haulers experiencing mixed reactions to vaccine

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Research is currently underway to help researchers determine how long haulers are responding to the COVID vaccine.

Long haulers can’t shake the symptoms, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report as including brain fog, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle weakness, heart palpitations, and mood and sleep disturbances after getting COVID-19.

Hannah Hernandez, 33, got the coronavirus in March of 2020.

“It was very scary because I’m a mother,” Hernandez said. “I have two small children at home. I had the full gamut of symptoms... I had significant side effects from COVID for several months,” Hernandez said.

After getting her vaccine for the coronavirus around Christmas, she thankfully felt much better. However, she said the headaches soon came back.

“My logical part of me said ‘No, this is a vaccine side effect.’ The emotional side of me was concerned,” Hernandez said.

Some long haulers have felt like they were reliving the virus after getting the vaccine. Others have felt relief from their symptoms, crediting the vaccine.

“I feel better,” long hauler Kasey Field told KYTV News. “I’m not 100%, but I’m probably at about 85% better, and I’m just a week out.”

“My heart rate is normal now,” long hauler Amanda Finley also told KYTV News. “I can breathe better now. I can go up the stairs and I don’t feel like I am going to die.”

Just like COVID-19 has been unpredictable, long haulers’ reaction to the vaccine has been too. It’s something Candice Gray-Cunningham at Norton’s Long Term COVID-19 Care Clinic has noticed.

“I’ve heard different things; for the most part, they feel better,” Gray-Cunningham said.

Experts aren’t yet certain about the science of why this could be happening or how long patients’ improvement might last.

“Everything we have is anecdotal,” Gray-Cunningham said. “We assume it’s from the immune response.”

For some long haulers, there is a fear the vaccination will cause them to feel unwell again. However, Hernandez wants people to know that the side effects are only temporary.

“Even though the vaccine in the short term, a week or so, may make you feel crummy, it’s a whole lot better than starting at zero and getting sick again,” Hernandez said.

Long haulers hope more research will be done to see if there is a connection when they felt the vaccine gave them their life back.

“So, if this is one key that unlocks this door to understanding that’s amazing,” Finley said.

To learn more about Norton Healthcare’s Long Term Covid-19 Care Clinic, click here.

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