Researchers have been working for several years on understanding why some individuals suffer a pattern of persistent health problems after being infected with SARS-CoV-21 2 or after COVID vaccination.3 4 5 Both long COVID syndrome and long post-COVID vaccination syndrome (LPVCS) are associated with similar debilitating symptoms that affect immune and brain function.6
Although U.S. and European Union (E.U.) vaccine policymakers insist that COVID vaccines are very safe and that cases of LPVCS are either non-existent or very rare,7 8 reported symptoms of both long COVID and LPVCS include persistent headaches; impaired concentration and memory; muscle pain and weakness; severe fatigue; abnormal heart rate and unstable blood pressure, among other symptoms indicating immune and neurological dysfunction.9 Long COVID is a syndrome defined by health officials as a wide range of new, returning or ongoing health problems that people experience after being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.10
Commenting on reported cases of chronic health problems developing in some individuals after COVID shots, Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PhD, a neurologist and researcher at Harvard Medical School, stated:
POTS Common in Both Long Vax and Long COVID Patients
A 2022 study published in the journal Nature evaluated the relationship between COVID vaccination and new Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) related diagnoses.13 POTS is a condition manifested by a number of symptoms that occur when a person transitions from lying down to standing up, such as a fast heart rate, dizziness and fatigue. In patients with POTS, the balancing act of blood vessel constriction and heart rate response is not coordinated and, therefore, the body is unable to keep blood pressure stable.14
The study was based on electronic health records of outpatient visits at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. The sample included 284,592 patients of which 93 percent had received a COVID-19 vaccine. 62 percent of the sample received Pfizer/BioNTech’s Comirnaty messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID shot, 31 percent received Moderna/NIAID’s Spikevax mRNA COVID shot, 6.9 percent received Johnson & Johnson/Janssen’s Ad26.COV2.S COVID vaccine and less than 0.1 percent received other COVID vaccines. A diagnosis of POTS was identified either in the 90-day interval prior to vaccination serving as a “control” or in the 90-day interval following vaccination.15
The researchers found evidence of POTS associated diagnoses occurring more frequently after COVID vaccination than before vaccination. These new POTS diagnoses occurred at a more frequent rate than did new primary care diagnoses after vaccination.16 The findings show that within 90 days after a COVID shot, the rate of POTS-related symptoms was about 33 percent higher than in the three months prior to receiving the shot.17 The researchers did note that the rate of new POTS diagnoses made after vaccination was less frequent than the rate of new POTS diagnoses made after SARS-CoV-2 infection.18
Alan Kwan, MD, lead researcher in the study and a cardiologist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California said:
Our data show a relatively clear signal that there probably is an increase in POTS after vaccination and after infection.19
Tae Chung, MD, a neuromuscular physiatrist who oversees the POTS clinic at Johns Hopkins University stated:
Even last year I was a little bit cautious about the link between POTS and vaccination. … I didn’t have quantitative data to back it up, but now I feel like I do.20
Case Study of Post-Vaccine POTS Following mRNA COVID Shot
A case study published in 2021 in the journal Cureus described a 42-year-old male presented to the clinic with sinus tachycardia (cardiac rhythm in which the heart beats faster than normal) and presyncope episodes (dizziness, nausea, palpitations, weakness and sudden perspiration) approximately six days after taking the first dose of Pfizer’s mRNA Comirnaty shot. A second dose was not given due to the severity of the symptoms after the first dose.21
The POTS symptoms were triggered after eating a large meal or standing for a longer period of time. Polymerase chain reactions (PCR) for SARS-CoV2 and SARS-CoV2 antibodies were negative. Many diagnostic tests and images failed to confirm any other diagnosis other than POTS. There was a sequential connection between the onset of symptoms approximately one week after taking the first dose of the mRNA shot.22
Since the case study was published, the author of the study Sujana Reddy, DO, an internal medicine resident physician at East Alabama Health in Opelika, Alabama, heard from more than 250 people describing similar symptoms following COVID-19 shots. Dr. Reddy is in the process of a working on a new study documenting POTS cases that has not yet been published, which now includes 55 people who developed symptoms 1-2 two weeks after COVID vaccinations.23
The Yale LISTEN Study
Harlan Krumholz, MD, a cardiologist at Yale University and Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, professor of immunobiology at Yale University, have launched a post-vaccination study called Listen to Immune, Symptom and Treatment Experiences Now, also known as LISTEN.24 The purpose of the study is to understand Long COVID, post-vaccine adverse events and immune responses by collecting information about symptoms and medical history from participants, including collecting blood and saliva samples.25
Harlan Krumholz, MD said:
It’s my obligation, if I truly am a scientist, to have an open mind and learn if there’s something that can be done. I’m persuaded that there’s something going on” with these side effects.26
Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stated:
We can’t rule out rare cases. Doctors may want to take seriously the concept [of] a vaccine side effect.27
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1 Sauerwein K. Long COVID poses risks to vaccinated people, too. Washington University School of Medicine May 25, 2022.
2 Sutherland S. Long COVID Now Looks like a Neurological Disease, Helping Doctors to Focus on Treatments. Scientific American Mar. 1, 2023.
3 Yehya NA. Antibodies mimicking the virus may explain long haul COVID-19, rare vaccine side effects. UC Davis Health Nov. 24, 2021.
4 Frankel JC, Vogel G. In rare cases, coronavirus vaccines may cause Long Covid-like symptoms. Science Jan. 20, 2022.
5 Finterer J, Scorza FA. A retrospective analysis of clinically confirmed long post-COVID vaccination syndrome. J Clin Trans Res 2022; 8(6): 506-508.
6 Vogel G, Couzin-Frankel J. Rare link between coronavirus vaccines and Long Covid–like illness starts to gain acceptance. Science July 3, 2023.
7 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Selected Adverse Events Reported After COVID-19 Vaccination. July 13, 2023.
8 Vergin J, Roth C, Abbany Z. Post-COVID vaccination syndrome: What do we know? Deutsche Welle July 6, 2023.
9 Vogel G, Couzin-Frankel J. Rare link between coronavirus vaccines and Long Covid–like illness starts to gain acceptance. Science July 3, 2023.
10 CDC. Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions. Dec. 16, 2022.
11 Vogel G, Couzin-Frankel J. Rare link between coronavirus vaccines and Long Covid–like illness starts to gain acceptance. Science July 3, 2023.
13 Kwan A. et al. Apparent risks of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome diagnoses after COVID-19 vaccination and SARS-Cov-2 Infection. Nature Cardiovascular Research 2022; 1: 1187-1194.
14 Cleveland Clinic. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).
15 Kwan A. et al. Apparent risks of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome diagnoses after COVID-19 vaccination and SARS-Cov-2 Infection. Nature Cardiovascular Research 2022; 1: 1187-1194.
17 Vogel G, Couzin-Frankel J. Rare link between coronavirus vaccines and Long Covid–like illness starts to gain acceptance. Science July 3, 2023.
18 Kwan A. et al. Apparent risks of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome diagnoses after COVID-19 vaccination and SARS-Cov-2 Infection. Nature Cardiovascular Research 2022; 1: 1187-1194.
19 Vogel G, Couzin-Frankel J. Rare link between coronavirus vaccines and Long Covid–like illness starts to gain acceptance. Science July 3, 2023.
21 Reddy S. A Case of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome Secondary to the Messenger RNA COVID-19 Vaccine. Cureus 2021; 13(5): e14837.
23 Vogel G, Couzin-Frankel J. Rare link between coronavirus vaccines and Long Covid–like illness starts to gain acceptance. Science Jul. 3, 2023.
24 Lallanilla M. What is ‘long vax’? Symptoms linked to COVID-19 shot baffle docs. The New York Post July 6, 2023.
25 Yale School of Medicine. The Yale Listen Study.
26 Lallanilla M. What is ‘long vax’? Symptoms linked to COVID-19 shot baffle docs. The New York Post July 6, 2023.