Some COVID Long Haulers Reporting Improvements After Vaccine

Mar 26, 2021, 11:15 PM | Updated: 11:39 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After months of dealing with long-lasting symptoms from COVID-19, some long-haul COVID-19 patients said the vaccine has improved their symptoms.

It’s been a long, bumpy road for people like Jennifer Hunter. In June 2020, Hunter was training for a half marathon. Instead of running the race, “I landed in the ICU. I had over 30 pulmonary embolisms.” And it was just the beginning of a monthslong race for relief.

“This long journey over several months with just some crazy symptoms that come and go and some that I wasn’t sure would ever go away,” Hunter said, who suffered from irregular heartbeats, drops in oxygen, brain fog and fatigue.

“I couldn’t really exert myself or if I tried to do that I was down for a few days afterward,” she said.

Hunter is a teacher. In February she received her vaccine and “since then I’ve been feeling really well. It’s a night and day difference.”

For Hunter, it was a dose of hope that symptoms wouldn’t last a lifetime. But not everyone has reported feeling better.

“I would have to have the list in front of me. It’s a couple dozen symptoms long,” said Sara Johnston.

Johnston got sick in March 2020, before there was anything close to mass testing. She was never tested for COVID-19 because she didn’t meet the strict criteria at that time of limited testing. But since then, she said four physicians have told her she had COVID-19.

Apart from the chest pain, heart palpitations, nausea and fatigue she continues to experience since, Johnston has had 10 episodes of blindness in her right eye. And it has taken a toll.

“Just difficulty trying to be a good mom and be there for my kids,” she said. “They want a mom that can run and play and jump and wrestle, do the things we used to do together and I can’t do that without consequence.”

Johnston, like Hunter, is a member of the Utah COVID Longhauler Facebook group, which has about 2,800 members. She decided to get the vaccine after they polled members of the group. Of the 89 people to respond, roughly 11% said they saw improvement in their symptoms after the vaccine. Around 90% reported their long-haul symptoms had so far remained the same.

“I wouldn’t say they should go get the vaccine because they think it’s going to cure them,” Johnston said.

She got her first dose earlier this week, with minimal side effects and no change in symptoms. But she looks forward, at least, to an added layer of protection against the virus.

Like medical experts and others experiencing lasting symptoms, Johnston also looks forward to more research and study to help determine the lasting effects of the vaccine on their symptoms. To others still dealing with the impact of the virus, she said, “Keep hanging in there. I think that things can and will get better. It’s going to take time and it’s going to take perseverance and patience and reaching to people for support when you need it.”

Hunter still has occasional shortness of breath because of scarring in her lungs. But the heart problems, fatigue and other symptoms have vanished since getting the vaccine. And she’s “hoping they don’t come back.”

“Even if it doesn’t necessarily cure you from the long-hauler symptoms, I think that peace of mind helps a lot,” she said of the vaccine.

Now, for the first time since she was infected with COVID-19, Hunter is back to training for a half marathon. And this time she intends to run her race.

“It feels like a miracle in a way,” she said. “I didn’t know if I was ever going to get over it.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

FILE PHOTO (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)...
Josh Ellis

Utah doctor, others charged with running COVID vaccine scheme, issuing fake records and giving fake shots

A Utah plastic surgeon, his medical corporation and three others have been charged after prosecutors say they issued fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards and injected minors with saline shots.
17 days ago
FILE: People line up in their cars as members of the Utah National Guard give COVID-19 swab tests a...
Eliza Pace

Gov. Cox, along with 24 other governors, call on President Biden to end Federal Public Health Emergency

Gov. Spencer Cox signed a letter with 24 other governors calling on President Joe Biden to end the federal public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic.
2 months ago
flu shot tripledemic...
Matt Rascon

KSL+: The rise of respiratory viruses and COVID’s impact

It’s not even winter yet, and the CDC is warning that the country is experiencing a resurgence of respiratory viruses, which are taking a toll on hospitals and children.
2 months ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

US clears updated COVID boosters for kids as young as 5

The U.S. on Wednesday authorized updated COVID-19 boosters for children as young as 5, seeking to expand protection ahead of an expected winter wave.
4 months ago
Alex Cabrero and Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Sandy woman shares frustration of ongoing battle with COVID-19

As life starts to return to normal from the pandemic, for millions of Americans, it still causes a daily struggle. That's the case for one Sandy woman, who shared her story Tuesday.
4 months ago
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer  COVID-19 vaccine booster sho...
Jed Boal

University Health recommends getting omicron booster and flu shot now

The CDC approved the COVID-19 bivalent boosters that target the most recent omicron variants on September 1. Since then, tens of thousands of Utahns have rolled up their sleeves.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Some COVID Long Haulers Reporting Improvements After Vaccine