Prolonged COVID affects the elderly;  The shots don't stop him

Prolonged COVID affects the elderly; The shots don’t stop him

New US research on the long-term COVID-19 provides new evidence that it can occur even after the infection has spread in vaccinated people, and that older adults are at greater risk for long-term effects.

New US research on the long-term COVID-19 provides new evidence that it can occur even after the infection has spread in vaccinated people, and that older adults are at greater risk for long-term effects.

In a study of veterans published Wednesday, about a third of those with sudden infections showed signs of long-term Covid disease.

A separate report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that for up to a year after initial infection with the coronavirus, 1 in 4 adults 65 years of age or older had at least one long-term health problem with COVID, compared to 1 in 5 younger adults.

Long COVID refers to more than two dozen symptoms that persist, recur, or first appear at least one month after infection with the coronavirus. These can affect all parts of the body and may include fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, and blood clots.

Coronavirus vaccines that help prevent primary infections and serious illnesses have been providing some protection against COVID for a long time, but mounting research is emerging not as much as scientists initially hoped.

A veterans study published in Nature Medicine reviewed the medical records of mostly white male veterans, who are 60 years old, on average. Of the 13 million veterans, nearly 3 million were vaccinated in the past year, as of October.

About 1%, or roughly 34,000, had penetrating infections. Lead author Dr. Ziyad Al-Ali noted that the study was conducted before the highly contagious omicron variant emerged at the end of the year and said the infection rate had likely increased.

Penetrating infection and prolonged COVID symptoms were more common in those who received a single dose of Johnson & Johnson than two doses of Moderna or Pfizer. It is not known if any of them received booster shots; The first booster didn’t do well in the United States until late September.

Overall, 32% experienced prolonged COVID symptoms for up to six months after sudden injuries. This compares with 36% of unvaccinated veterans who have been infected and developed COVID for a long time.

Al-Ali, a researcher at the University of Washington and the Veterans Affairs Health System in St. Louis. These symptoms included persistent shortness of breath or coughing, and blood clots in the lungs or veins in the legs.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Christine Englund, who directs a long-term COVID patient center at the Cleveland Clinic, said the Nature Medicine study mirrors what you see in her clinic. Long-time COVID patients there include people who have been vaccinated and have received a booster.

“Because there have been no clear cures for Covid for a long time, it is important for everyone to get vaccinated and to use other proven prevention methods such as masking and social distancing in order to prevent infection with Covid and therefore of the Corona virus for a long time,” Englund said.

The CDC report, released Tuesday, used the medical records of nearly two million adults in the United States from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 through last November. Among them, 353,000 had COVID-19. Patients were tracked for up to a year to determine if they had developed any of the 26 health conditions attributed to prolonged COVID-19.

Those who had COVID were more likely to have at least one of these conditions than other adults without COVID, and the risk was greater in those 65 or older. Information on vaccination, gender and ethnicity was not included.

Breathing problems and muscle pain were among the most common.

Older adults had higher risks for some conditions, including strokes, brain fog, kidney failure and mental health problems. The report’s authors said the findings were worrisome because these conditions could accelerate older adults’ needs for long-term care.

They stressed that routine assessment of all COVID patients is “critical to reduce the incidence” of COVID for a prolonged period.


Follow AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner at @LindseyTanner.


The Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.

Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press

2022-05-25 17:45:59

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