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UNF study emphasizes need for COVID-19 booster shots to manage long-term effects

The Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida recently published a study that highlights the importance of booster vaccinations in managing and mitigating the long-term effects of COVID-19. This study is likely the first to investigate the relationship between COVID-19 booster vaccinations and long-COVID in the U.S. population. 

The study found that COVID-19 booster vaccinations are associated with a reduced likelihood of developing long-COVID among U.S. adults. Additionally, the study's findings revealed that certain characteristics, such as age, gender, income and chronic conditions increase the risk of long-COVID.  

Drs. Zhigang Xie, assistant professor of public health, and Sericea Stallings-Smith, associate professor of public health, along with UNF public health graduate student Shraddha Patel partnered with two University of Florida researchers for the study.  

The study surveyed 8,757 U.S. adults, of which 19.5% experienced long-COVID, 22.2% had not received any COVID-19 vaccine, 17.3% had received only one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 33.3% had completed the initial series of the COVID-19 vaccine and 27.2% had received the COVID-19 booster vaccine. Based on this nationally representative data, the team found that individuals who had contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus and received a COVID-19 booster vaccine were significantly less likely to report long-COVID symptoms compared to those who had not been vaccinated or had only received the initial vaccine series. 

Read the full study in the latest issue of “Vaccine” journal.