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This article discusses causal interpretations of epidemiologic studies of the effects of vaccination on sequelae after acute severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection. To date, researchers have tried to answer several different research questions on this topic. While some studies assessed the impact of postinfection vaccination on the presence of or recovery from post-acute coronavirus disease 2019 syndrome, others quantified the association between preinfection vaccination and postacute sequelae conditional on becoming infected. However, the latter analysis does not have a causal interpretation, except under the principal stratification framework-that is, this comparison can only be interpreted as causal for a nondiscernible stratum of the population. As the epidemiology of coronavirus disease 2019 is now nearly entirely dominated by reinfections, including in vaccinated individuals, and possibly caused by different Omicron subvariants, it has become even more important to design studies on the effects of vaccination on postacute sequelae that address precise causal questions and quantify effects corresponding to implementable interventions.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





368 - 371


Humans, COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccines, SARS-CoV-2, Vaccination, Disease Progression