Association between long COVID and vaccination: A 12-month follow-up study in a low- to middle-income country

Document Type



Emergency Medicine; Medicine; Internal Medicine


Objective: There is a lack of estimates regarding the at-risk population associated with long COVID in Pakistan due to the absence of prospective longitudinal studies. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of long COVID and its association with disease severity and vaccination status of the patient.
Design and data sources: This prospective cohort study was conducted at the Aga Khan University Hospital and recruited patients aged > 18 years who were admitted between February 1 and June 7, 2021. During this time, 901 individuals were admitted, after excluding patients with missing data, a total of 481 confirmed cases were enrolled.
Results: The mean age of the study population was 56.9±14.3 years. Among patients with known vaccination status (n = 474), 19%(n = 90) and 19.2%(n = 91) were fully and partially vaccinated, respectively. Severe/critical disease was present in 64%(n = 312). The mortality rate following discharge was 4.58%(n = 22). Around 18.9%(n = 91) of the population required readmission to the hospital, with respiratory failure (31.8%, n = 29) as the leading cause. Long COVID symptoms were present in 29.9%(n = 144), and these symptoms were more prevalent in the severe/critical (35.5%, n = 111) and unvaccinated (37.9%, n = 105) cohort. The most prominent symptoms were fatigue (26.2%, n = 126) and shortness of breath (24.1%, n = 116), followed by cough (15.2%, n = 73). Vaccinated as compared to unvaccinated patients had lower readmissions (13.8% vs. 21.51%) and post-COVID pulmonary complications (15.4% vs. 24.2%). On multivariable analysis, after adjusting for age, gender, co-morbidity, and disease severity, lack of vaccination was found to be an independent predictor of long COVID with an Odds ratio of 2.42(95% CI 1.52-3.84). Fully and partially vaccinated patients had 62% and 56% reduced risk of developing long COVID respectively.
Conclusions: This study reports that the patients continued to have debilitating symptoms related to long COVID, one year after discharge, and most of its effects were observed in patients with severe/critical disease and unvaccinated patients.


Pagination is not provided by the author/publisher.

Publication (Name of Journal)

PloS One