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Utah COVID-19 long-haulers wonder if they should be vaccinated

Posted at 4:40 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 19:27:49-04

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s been a year now for some folks who contracted COVID-19 and have had long-hauler symptoms ever since. Now they’re wondering if a vaccine will make their symptoms worse or better.

WATCH: Long-haulers look for help; U of U plans to add ‘post-COVID-19 clinic'

Hair loss and chronic fatigue are just a few things that Lisa O'Brien has been dealing with ever since she got COVID-19 nearly a year ago.

"I’m doing better, spending more time out of bed," said O'Brien.

The next step for O'Brien is to get the vaccine, which she's signed up for this week.

"I'm still kind of on the fence," said O'Brien.

Undecided because if she were to get COVID-19 again, her first case was very mild -- it's the long-lasting symptoms that scare O'Brien.

"My heart is finally calmed down and I don’t want to go through that again," said O'Brien.

Yet O'Brien said some in her Utah long-hauler Facebook group have seen positive effects from getting vaccinated.

"I’ve seen some that have had headaches for months and those have gone away," said O'Brien "Some people have had improvement in brain fog and seen improvement in fatigue."

READ: Free online boot camp proving successful for COVID-19 long-haulers

It doesn't mean they're 100 percent cured, but O'Brien said the vaccine is definitely helping.

Research conducted in the United Kingdom, still in its review stages, suggests "there was no significant worsening in quality-of-life or mental wellbeing" once long-hauler patients were vaccinated.

A team of researchers and physicians at the University of Utah are working with O'Brien to conduct research on treatment for long-haulers.

"I spoke to researchers about a post-COVID care center," said O'Brien.

Care centers are something all but 19 states, including Utah, have.

"They're starting to work on one, so I'm hoping that in the next couple of months that will open and become a resource," said O'Brien.

WATCH: Drug trial could bring relief, help for COVID-19 long-haulers

The researchers declined to comment when FOX 13 reached out.

O'Brien hopes the information researched on will benefit more than just long-haulers.

"We hope to bring awareness to other invisible illnesses that have been going on for a decade," said O'Brien.