BILTHOVEN – Almost half of the people who were infected with the corona virus last year were still suffering from symptoms three months later. Especially fatigue often persists for a long time. Of the 14,572 participants in the so-called Long COVID study by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), 31 percent were still suffering from it a quarter later.

Of those surveyed, 16 percent listed shortness of breath as a long-term complaint, 15 percent still suffered from concentration problems after three months, and 13 percent reported “problems in a busy environment.” Such complaints also occur from other causes, but twice as often among people who had Covid-19, according to the RIVM. Persistent symptoms after a corona infection are also one and a half times more common than after any other respiratory infection. 

Whether people had been vaccinated against the virus or not only made a difference in terms of smell and taste among participants under 65. Other persistent symptoms, such as fatigue and difficulty concentrating, were as common among vaccinated as among unvaccinated people who contracted the virus.
These are interim study results. Questionnaires were completed between May and December 2021 and relate mainly to the alpha and delta variants of the virus that were circulating during this period. The extent to which people continue to suffer from long-term symptoms after being infected with the omicron variant will only become clear when the next set of results is published.