Protective Effects of BNT162b2 Vaccination on Aerobic Capacity Following Mild to Moderate SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Cross-Sectional Study Israel.

Blumberg Y; Edelstein M; Abu Jabal K; Golan R; Tuvia N; Perets Y; Saad M; Levinas T; Saleem DIsraeli Z; Alaa AR; Elbaz Greener G; Amital A; Halabi M;

Journal of clinical medicine [J Clin Med] 2022 Jul 29; Vol. 11 (15).
Date of Electronic Publication: 2022 Jul 29.

Patients previously infected with acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may experience post-acute adverse health outcomes, known as long COVID. The most reported symptoms are fatigue, headache and attention/concentration issues, dyspnea and myalgia. In addition, reduced aerobic capacity has been demonstrated in both mild and moderate COVID-19 patients. It is unknown whether COVID-19 vaccination mitigates against reduced aerobic capacity. Our aim was to compare the aerobic capacity of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Methods: Individuals aged 18 to 65 years with laboratory-confirmed mild to moderate COVID-19 disease were invited to Ziv Medical Centre, Israel, three months after SARS-CoV-2 infection. We compared individuals unvaccinated at the time of infection to those vaccinated in terms of aerobic capacity, measured using symptom-limited cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET).
Results: We recruited 28 unvaccinated and 22 vaccinated patients. There were no differences in baseline demographic and pulmonary function testing (PFT) parameters. Compared with unvaccinated individuals, those vaccinated had higher V’O 2 /kg at peak exercise and at the anaerobic threshold. The V’O 2 /kg peak in the unvaccinated group was 83% of predicted vs. 100% in the vaccinated ( p < 0.002). At the anaerobic threshold (AT), vaccinated individuals had a higher V’O 2 /kg than those unvaccinated.
Conclusions: Vaccinated individuals had significantly better exercise performance. Compared with vaccinated individuals, a higher proportion of those unvaccinated performed substantially worse than expected on CPET. These results suggest that vaccination at the time of infection is associated with better aerobic capacity following SARS-CoV-2 infection.