Coronavirus: Omicron less likely to result in long Covid among double-jabbed, UK study shows
- The chance of twice-vaccinated adults infected with Omicron BA.1 strain having long Covid 4 to 8 weeks later was 50 per cent lower than those who had Delta
- Also, no difference in risk of long Covid between first infections with Delta compared to the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants among triple-vaccinated adults
The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is much less likely than Delta to result in long Covid in people who have had two doses of vaccine, new figures in the UK suggest.
Data shows the odds of double-vaccinated adults infected with the Omicron BA.1 strain reporting having long Covid four to eight weeks later were 50 per cent lower than those who had Delta.
The experimental statistics, published in May, also suggest there is no evidence of a difference in risk of long Covid between first infections with Delta compared to the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants among triple-vaccinated adults.
But Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the odds of triple-jabbed adults reporting long Covid symptoms four to eight weeks after first being infected were 22 per cent higher with the Omicron BA.2 variant compared to the BA.1 strain.
There was, however, no statistical evidence of a difference in the likelihood of activity-limiting long Covid between the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants, it added.
The ONS said: “Among double-vaccinated, adult study participants, the socio-demographically adjusted prevalence of self-reported long Covid four to eight weeks after a first coronavirus (Covid-19) infection compatible with the Delta variant was 15.9 per cent. This is compared with 8.7 per cent for infections compatible with the Omicron BA.1 variant.
“Among triple-vaccinated adults, there was no statistical evidence of a difference in the adjusted prevalence of self-reported long Covid between first infections compatible with the Delta variant and those compatible with either Omicron BA.1 or Omicron BA.2.
“However, adjusted prevalence was higher for infections compatible with Omicron BA.2 (9.3 per cent) than it was for those compatible with Omicron BA.1 (7.8 per cent).”
Self-reported long Covid is defined as symptoms persisting for more than four weeks after a first suspected coronavirus infection that could not be explained by something else.
Separate figures from the ONS, published at the same time, show an estimated 1.8 million people in the UK were likely to be experiencing symptoms of long Covid in the four weeks to April 3, the equivalent of 2.8 per cent of the population.
This is up 6 per cent from 1.7 million people a month earlier, and includes 791,000 people who first had Covid-19, or suspected they had the virus, at least one year ago - the highest number so far.
Long Covid symptoms are estimated to be adversely affecting the day-to-day activities of 1.2 million people, around two-thirds of those with self-reported long Covid.
Some 346,000 people (19 per cent) reported their ability to undertake day-to-day activities has been “limited a lot”, the ONS said.
Fatigue continues to be the most common symptom (experienced by 51 per cent of those with self-reported long Covid), followed by shortness of breath (33 per cent), loss of smell (26 per cent) and then difficulty concentrating (23 per cent).
The ONS said prevalence of self-reported long Covid was greatest in people aged 35 to 49, females, people living in more deprived areas, those working in social care, teaching and education or health care, and those with another activity-limiting health condition or disability.
The ONS figures are based on self-reported long Covid from a representative sample of people in private households in the four weeks to April 3.