Covid: Increased risk of death and serious health problems from repeat infections provides fresh incentive to get booster vaccines – Steve Cardownie

A new major study has found that catching Covid more than once increases your chance of hospitalisation and even death from related issues.

This conclusion was gleaned from health data collected by researchers at Washington University from almost half a million US veterans. It found that if a person caught Covid after having had it before they were more likely to have issues with their lungs, heart, brain, blood, muscles and digestive system than if they never had the infection before.

Researchers found that lung problems were three-and-a-half times more likely, heart problems three times more likely and brain issues one-and-a-half times more likely in people who had multiple infections from the virus. They also found that people who had repeated infections were three times more likely to be hospitalised and twice as likely to die than those who only had Covid once.

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If some people still need to be persuaded to participate in the NHS winter vaccination programme for flu and Covid, then surely studies such as this must provide food for thought. I have lost count of the number of people who have told me that either the Covid vaccine was useless or that because they had Covid before they were now immune. Neither is the case.

NHS Scotland recommends you have both the flu and Covid vaccines this year if you’re over 50 years old and provides details on its website about the other categories that are eligible. I had both the flu and Covid vaccine jabs at the same time last year and will be doing so again at the end of the month. I do not subscribe to the views of anti-vaxxers and have ample evidence at my fingertips to prove that the vaccine is safe and has saved countless lives.

The Lancet reports that “Covid-19 vaccination has substantially altered the course of the pandemic, saving tens of millions of lives globally”. It reports that “based on official reported Covid-19 deaths, we estimate that vaccination prevented 14.4 million deaths from Covid-19 in 185 countries and territories between December 8, 2020 and December 8, 2021”.

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A statement published on the Scottish Government’s website on October 23 says that “over two million Scots are being offered both vaccines during the course of the programme and a nationwide marketing campaign – 'Don’t let your protection fade' – is raising awareness of the importance of topping up protection against the illnesses – so far, 93.9 per cent of people have received both flu and Covid-19 jabs at the same appointment”.

Covid-19 has not gone away and the flu continues to cause problems, particularly among the elderly, so I will continue to be an advocate for the vaccine programme. No-one wants to see the reimposition of the kind of strictures that we had to suffer when the pandemic was at its fiercest and the continued participation in vaccine rollouts is an effective way of keeping the pandemic at bay.

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The Covid vaccine has saved tens of millions of lives worldwide (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/pool/Getty Images)

So, I will soon be making my way to a clinic where I will gratefully receive both jabs.