Omicron: GP explains ‘overwhelming’ science behind vaccines

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The Covid vaccine rollout will be remembered as one of the world’s most ambitious experiments. It’s important to emphasise the experimental nature of the rollout because, at the time, its ability to beat back the tide of COVID-19 was far from assured. What’s now clear is that the vaccination effort changed the direction of the pandemic. And with it has come a few surprises. Chief among them is that getting vaccinated changes the nature of Covid symptoms.

With every passing jab, the symptomatic profile of Covid has changed.

This trend was spotted from daily reports on the Zoe Covid Study app, which has been monitoring the pandemic from millions of users.

Zoe researchers have managed to identify the current symptoms that have emerged in recent weeks, and they differ depending on if you’ve been vaccinated, and how many doses you’ve had.

The symptoms rankings are based on user reports in the app alone and do not take into account which variant caused the virus or demographic information.

So, how are the symptoms changing?

Here is the current ranking of COVID symptoms after two vaccinations:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Blocked nose
  • Persistent cough
  • Headache.

According to the Zoe data, the previous “traditional” symptoms as still outlined on the Government website, such as anosmia (loss of smell), shortness of breath and fever rank way down the list, at six, 29 and eight respectively.

A persistent cough now ranks at number five if you’ve had two vaccine doses, so is no longer the top indicator of having Covid.

Curiously, the Zoe team also noticed that people who had been vaccinated and then tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to report sneezing as a symptom compared with those without a jab.

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The ranking changes again after one dose of the vaccination as observed below:

  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Persistent cough.

As indicated above, after the protection from only once vaccine, one of the original indicators of a persistent cough has made the top five symptoms, but still comes below sneezing and a runny nose in rankings, which were previously thought to be unrelated to infection.

If you’ve not yet been vaccinated, then the symptoms are more recognisable to the traditional original ranking, however the Zoe team still observed some changes from when COVID-19 first appeared over a year ago.

The unvaccinated ranking appears as follows:

  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny Nose
  • Fever
  • Persistent cough.

As you can see, loss of smell comes in at number nine and shortness of breath comes far down the list at number 30, indicating the symptoms as recorded previously are changing with the evolving variants of the virus.

The good news

Generally, the Zoe team saw similar symptoms of COVID-19 being reported overall in the app by people who had and hadn’t been vaccinated.

However, fewer symptoms were reported over a shorter period of time by those who had already had a jab, suggesting that they were falling less seriously ill and getting better more quickly.

The results are based on vaccine records and daily symptom reports, so it’s really important that you continue to log your health with Zoe in order for the team to continue monitoring regional hotspots, and the changing symptom ranking.

See the latest Covid vaccine stats below and visit InYourArea for all the Covid vaccine latest

As the data shows, even people who have had one or two doses of the vaccination can still be susceptible to contracting Covid, and the symptoms and severity differ depending on how many vaccinations you’ve had, if any.

Vaccination clearly blunts the intensity of Covid symptoms, so, for most people, the case for getting vaccinated is unassailable.

You can get a first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by:

  • Booking your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy
  • Finding a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site to get vaccinated without needing an appointment.

You may also be contacted by a local NHS service such as your GP surgery.

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