COVID ‘Long Haulers’ Reporting Relief From Symptoms After Receiving Vaccine

The group Survivor Corps polled 962 "long haulers" and found 46% said they remained the same after the vaccine, 14% felt worse, while 39% improved after the shot, from mild to full resolution of symptoms.

Video Transcript

LAUREN PASTRANA: In tonight's "Health Watch", could the COVID-19 vaccine bring relief to so-called "coronavirus long haulers"? Yale University is working to try to answer that very question.

ELLIOT RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, it's estimated that millions of COVID patients suffer lasting and debilitating health issues in some cases more than a year after battling the virus. CBS News senior medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula spoke to two patients about their long hauler symptoms.

TARA NARULA: Kimberly Wills Renaldi says she hasn't been the same since she was diagnosed with COVID last March. The 58-year-old long hauler suffered from serious lingering health issues until she received her first COVID vaccine shot last month.

- For me, this is a miracle the viral conjunctivitis, specifically in my right eye, is gone. The rash that was on my back and on my arms and my neck, that's gone. The extreme, extreme fatigue episodes, those have gotten better too.

TARA NARULA: The group Survivor Corps polled 962 long haulers and found 46% said they remained the same after the vaccine, 14% felt worse while, 39% improved after the shot from mild to full resolution of symptoms.

AKIKO IWASAKI: It wasn't something I had expected to see.

TARA NARULA: The poll caught the attention of Akiko Iwasaki, an immuno-biologist at Yale School of Medicine. She's launching a study on people with long COVID, collecting blood and saliva samples to compare immune responses before and after long haulers get the vaccine to understand if it really helps. One long COVID theory is that pieces of the virus may hide in the body.

AKIKO IWASAKI: The vaccine induces robust antibody and T-cell responses that can clear the viral reservoir or remnants that's causing the inflammation, and that would be a permanent solution to long COVID.

TARA NARULA: Another theory, long COVID is driven by a hyperactive autoimmune response, and the vaccine may reduce those responses. Judy Dod suffered dizziness, headaches, and exhaustion for more than a year after she got COVID.

- A few weeks after I got the second vaccine, I was, like, in my living room, like, dancing or something, and my partner was like, I don't think I've seen you dance in a year. I forgot what it was like to wake up in the morning and feel good.

TARA NARULA: Yale hopes to enroll at least 100 people with long COVID in its study to understand these phenomenon and to see if the relief will last. Dr. Tara Narula, "CBS News", New York.

ELLIOT RODRIGUEZ: Yale researchers say the findings of their study could help in other diseases that may be triggered by a virus, such as chronic fatigue syndrome. Good thing that.