FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Courtney Z. Stewart
Missouri Foundation for Health
New Campaign Features Testimonials from Missourians With Long COVID to Encourage More Vaccinations Statewide
LOUIS, MO (January 25, 2022) – With the latest rise in hospitalizations from COVID, Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) has launched a statewide campaign spotlighting real Missourians sharing their experiences with surprising and often debilitating long-term symptoms of COVID, known as long COVID.
The #ThisIsLongCOVID campaign includes a mix of radio and digital ads that feature long COVID patients and physicians from across the state. The campaign weaves together facts and compelling long COVID stories told by the patients themselves. COVID long-hauler Shantell Williams, says she hopes the ads will encourage more Missourians to get vaccinated against the virus.
“Seven weeks after recovering from COVID, my hair started falling out. It came out in clumps. My husband had to shave my head. It was devastating. People may not know all the ways COVID can wreak havoc in your life. I hope people will hear my story and get vaccinated,” Shantell Williams, a Missouri resident, said.
Long COVID—also known as Post COVID syndrome or long haul COVID—represents the wide range of new, returning, or exacerbated health problems people experience four or more weeks after a COVID infection. The symptoms can last weeks to several months after severe, mild, or even asymptomatic COVID cases.
A recent study found that as many as one in three people who survive COVID experience long COVID symptoms. Some of the more surprising symptoms include hair loss, brain fog, erectile dysfunction, shortness of breath, prolonged loss of taste and smell, and a number of other neurological and respiratory conditions.
“We know that there has been so much information shared since the start of the pandemic, and we hope that by partnering with real Missouri physicians and those who have experienced long COVID firsthand that we are helping families understand the long-term impact,” said Dr. Dwayne Proctor, president and CEO of MFH. “We are learning that a COVID infection can deliver a major blow to one’s health regardless of age or current health status, so vaccines are still the best protection.”
The campaign comes as Missouri continues to hit record levels of new COVID infections. The highly transmissible nature of the Omicron variant combined with a high number of unvaccinated residents is also fueling a dramatic surge in hospitalizations. Currently, only about 54% of Missourians are fully vaccinated.*
While fully vaccinated people can experience long-term symptoms, research shows that vaccinated people who get a breakthrough case of COVID have a 49% lower risk of developing long COVID. The vaccines are free and available to anyone ages 5 and up.
*Fully vaccinated = received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccine or a single dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
ABOUT MISSOURI FOUNDATION FOR HEALTH
Missouri Foundation for Health is building a more equitable future through collaboration, convening, knowledge sharing, and strategic investment. Working in partnership with communities and nonprofits, MFH is transforming systems to eliminate inequities within all aspects of health and addressing the social and economic factors that shape health outcomes.