Some With Long-Haul COVID See Relief After Vaccination

March 17, 2021 – Aaron Goyang believes his long battle with COVID-19 is finally over, several weeks after receiving his second dose of the vaccine.

Goyang, who is 33 and an X-ray technician in Austin, Texas, believes he contracted COVID-19 from some of the coughing and panting patients he treated last spring.

At the time, testing was scarce and by the time he was tested – several weeks after the onset of his illness – he came back negative. He fought off the first symptoms but relapsed a week later.

Goyang says that for the next 8 or 9 months, he was on a roller coaster with extreme shortness of breath and chest tightness that could be so severe it sent him to the emergency room. He had to use an inhaler to get through his working days.

“Even if I was just sitting down, it would come and grab me,” he said. “I almost felt like someone was hugging me constantly, and I just couldn’t breathe well enough.

On his best days, he was walking around his neighborhood, being careful not to overdo it. He tried running once, and it almost sent him to the hospital.

“Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure if I could ever do it again,” he says.

But Goyang says that several weeks after receiving the Pfizer vaccine, he was able to run a kilometer again without a problem. “I was very grateful for this,” he says.

Goyang is hardly alone. There are social media groups dedicated to patients who are living with a disease known as COVID-19 from a long distance and which has recently been named the post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC).

On social media, patients with long-distance COVID-19 enthusiastically and anxiously wonder about vaccines and their effects. Some are reporting that they have finally seen their symptoms go away, giving hope that long-term COVID-19 may not be a lifelong illness.

Survivor Corps, which has a public Facebook group with 159,000 members, recently conducted a survey to see if there was any substance to the rumors that these patients felt better after being vaccinated.

“Out of 400 people, 36% showed improvement in symptoms, anywhere between slight improvement and complete resolution of symptoms,” said Diana Berrent, a long-distance COVID-19 patient who founded the group. Survivor Corps has become active in patient advocacy and is a resource for researchers studying the new condition.

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Jothi Venkat

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