COVID vaccinations are possibly accelerating recoveries for long-haulers

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Are vaccinations helping speed up recoveries for patients with long-lasting COVID symptoms? It’s possible.

Even a mild COVID case might not exactly feel like so.

“I don’t ever want to have COVID again,” La Crosse resident Chelsey Alonzo said, who is a COVID long-hauler.

Chelsey says she tested positive for COVID at the end of November, and thinks it stems from her small Thanksgiving gathering, even though people were masked up.

“Just somebody had it there and I guess we got it,” Chelsey said. “Or you know, it could’ve been that we had it and didn’t know about it. So it’s hard to say.”

Chelsey’s symptoms were that of a mild case, with one exception. She says she lost her sense of taste until the end of February, and her sense of smell is still off.

“It’s very frustrating. It really is,” she said.

Chelsey’s symptoms have noticeably gotten better over the past couple of weeks.

“I feel more clear,” she said.

Which coincidentally enough, happened soon after she received her second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

“Whether it’s coincidence or the vaccine, I mean it’s hard to say,” Chelsey said.

Experts say Chelsey’s experience may not be a coincidence at all.

“The anecdotal evidence is suggesting that the vaccine is having some kind of impact,” Mayo Clinic Health System Chair of Pediatrics and Intensive Care Dr. Joseph Poterucha said.

Poterucha says early studies show some long-haulers’ symptoms end after getting vaccinated.

“We don’t have enough data to say for sure,” Poterucha said.

But he says the early evidence is definitely interesting.

“And I really empathize with those patients,” Poterucha said. “It’s a big problem, and it’s very bizarre.”

A bizarre experience that might finally come to an end thanks to doing what Chelsey believes is right.

“If you can get vaccinated, I say do so,” she said.

Simple advice for people in her shoes.

“It’s worth a shot,” she added.

Chelsey says she never had to go to the hospital when she had COVID.

She thinks she is close to getting back her full sense of smell.