For many long-haul COVID patients, symptoms have persisted for months, or even more than a year, after their initial infection. KCRW checks in with two guests we’ve spoken to before: Dr. Michael Peluso, a clinical fellow at the UC San Francisco School of Medicine, is helping run a two-year study of long-haul COVID patients; and Cliff Morrison, a patient in that study and a health care administrator in the Bay Area.
Morrison received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine earlier this year. But after experiencing a 102-degree fever, gastrointestinal issues, nausea, and trouble breathing, his doctors advised him to hold off on the second dose. He finally got his second dose a few weeks ago as the Delta variant surged. But he says it had little effect on his symptoms.
“After the first one, I thought that I did see some improvement with some symptoms, like shortness of breath, maybe some of the GI symptoms and some of the joint pain,” Morrison says. “But that was kind of short-lived. And then after the second one, I didn't really see any difference.”
Dr. Peluso says it’s too soon to know if vaccinated people who get breakthrough infections may suffer from long-term COVID. And there’s still no universally recommended treatment for long-term COVID symptoms.
“I think what we've learned over the last year is that this is a real condition that really affects people's lives, and that has come to be well-accepted,” Dr. Peluso says. “I think that's a major accomplishment of both the research and advocacy community over the last year. And now we and others are trying to actually get some answers about the biological processes that cause these symptoms, and kind of the interface between the biology and the whole person.”