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Conversation Starters

Last Updated: April 01, 2024

What supports are available for people with long COVID?

There is still no single, FDA-approved treatment for long COVID, but doctors can help patients manage individual symptoms.

  • Therapies, including those to improve lung function and retrain your sense of smell, as well as medications for pain and blood pressure regulation, may be part of long COVID treatment.
  • Studying myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and HIV may help researchers better understand long COVID and improve treatment options.
  • Getting diagnosed and treated for long COVID may be challenging for patients—especially for women and people of color, whose symptoms may be dismissed by doctors. Incorporating mental health support and seeking support from loved ones may help patients manage the stress associated with seeking treatment.

Long COVID patients may be eligible for government benefits that can ease financial burdens.

Getting reinfected with COVID-19 can worsen existing long COVID symptoms, but patients can take steps to stay protected.

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Last Updated: March 12, 2024

Do I need another COVID-19 vaccination this Spring?

The CDC recommends people 65 and older receive an additional dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine this spring after at least four months since they received a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • People who are immunocompromised may receive an additional dose of the updated vaccine at least two months after their last dose.
  • The shot would be an additional dose of the updated Pfizer, Moderna, or Novavax vaccines that were approved last fall.
  • It’s safe to receive an updated vaccine from any of the three manufacturers, regardless of which COVID-19 vaccines you received in the past.
  • Updated COVID-19 vaccines are available at pharmacies. Visit to find an appointment near you.

Updated COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting against severe illness, hospitalization, death, and long COVID.

  • Last October and November, adults who had recently received an updated COVID-19 vaccine accounted for only 4 percent of COVID-19-related hospitalizations.
  • Those who were vaccinated against COVID-19 in 2022—but did not receive an updated COVID-19 vaccine—accounted for 25 percent of COVID-19-related hospitalizations.
  • Staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines is a safer and more reliable way to build protection against COVID-19 than getting sick from COVID-19.

The CDC has also updated isolation recommendations for people who are sick with COVID-19.

  • According to the CDC’s general respiratory virus guidance, people who are sick with COVID-19 or another common respiratory illness, like the flu or RSV, should isolate until they’ve been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and their symptoms are improving.
  • After that, the CDC recommends that people who are sick take additional precautions for the next five days, including masking while around others and improving ventilation.
  • COVID-19 remains a highly contagious disease that can cause severe illness, death, and long-term health complications. If you are sick with COVID-19, you can infect others for five to 12 days, or longer.
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Last Updated: February 09, 2024

What does COVID-19 do to my immune system?

COVID-19 infections can cause long-lasting changes to our immune systems.

  • A 2023 study found that COVID-19 infections may reduce our production of “killer T-cells,” which help our bodies fight off infections. 
  • Another recent study found that our innate immune cells—our immune systems’ first line of defense—remain altered for at least one year after a COVID-19 infection, causing a long-term inflammatory response.
  • These changes to immune cells might make our immune systems less efficient, putting us at greater risk of severe illness from future infections.

Every time we get infected with the COVID-19 virus, our risk of dangerous health outcomes increases.

  • A 2022 study found that people who had been infected with COVID-19 at least twice experienced higher rates of short- and long-term health complications compared to those who had only been infected once. 
  • Those who had multiple COVID-19 infections were three times more likely to be hospitalized than those who only had one COVID-19 infection. 
  • People with multiple COVID-19 infections were also more likely to develop blood clots as well as damage to their heart, lungs, and brain.

COVID-19 vaccines strengthen our immune systems by teaching cells how to respond to the virus.

  • The CDC says getting vaccinated is a safer and more reliable way to build protection against COVID-19 than getting sick from the virus. 
  • The CDC recommends the updated COVID-19 vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Find appointments near you at
  • Implementing additional mitigation methods like masking helps prevent immune system damage caused by COVID-19 infections.
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Last Updated: January 29, 2024

Do COVID-19 vaccines prevent long COVID?

Long COVID describes a cluster of symptoms occurring after a COVID-19 infection that can range from mild to debilitating.

  • Symptoms may include fatigue, chest pain, brain fog, dizziness, abdominal pain, joint pain, and changes in taste or smell. These symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. 
  • Scientists still don’t know why some people develop long COVID. One possibility is that fragments of the virus linger in the body after infection, causing chronic inflammation. Another is that long COVID is an autoimmune disease triggered by a COVID-19 infection.
  • There is no specific treatment for long COVID, but health care providers can help patients manage individual symptoms.

Anyone who gets infected with COVID-19 is at risk of developing long COVID, and some populations are at greater risk.

  • Unvaccinated people are at greater risk of developing long COVID.
  • Women are more likely than men to develop long COVID.
  • People who experience health inequities may be more likely to develop long COVID and face barriers to treatment.

Staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines is an effective way to reduce your risk of long COVID.

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Last Updated: January 19, 2024

How do we know COVID vaccines are safe?

DNA fragments are present in all vaccines, but they cannot change our bodies’ DNA.

  • Scientists use cells to produce vaccines, and those cells contain DNA. When our bodies are exposed to DNA fragments in vaccines, our bodies destroy them
  • It is biologically impossible for DNA fragments in vaccines to change our own DNA because they lack the mechanism required to enter the cell nuclei, where our DNA lives. 
  • Regulators around the world agree that the level of DNA fragments in COVID-19 vaccines is well below the acceptable limit.

Lipid (fat) nanoparticles in mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

  • mRNA is fragile, so it needs to be surrounded by fat bubbles called lipid nanoparticles in order to travel throughout the body and teach our cells how to protect against COVID-19.
  • Lipid-based drug delivery systems have been studied for more than 40 years and have been determined to be safe. Without them, COVID-19 vaccines would not exist.
  • Lipid nanoparticles in COVID-19 vaccine are cleared from the body within days.

There is strong evidence that COVID-19 vaccines do not cause cancer.

  • Florida’s surgeon general and others have falsely claimed that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines contain SV40, a virus that has been suspected of causing cancer.
  • The SV40 virus is not present in COVID-19 vaccines, but a piece of SV40’s DNA sequence was used as “starting material” to develop COVID-19 vaccines.
  • This sequence has been used to develop other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, which has been safely administered for decades.
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