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Vaccinated Britons who catch Covid get a milder form of disease, study warns

Vaccinated Britons who catch Covid get a milder form of the disease and suffer fewer tell-tale symptoms, study warns

  • King’s College London scientists found a third had classic Covid symptoms
  • But among the un-vaccinated more than half had the three key signs of the virus
  • Studies show Covid vaccines block hospitalisation and death in nearly all cases
  • But they may only stop infections with the virus in about nine in ten people

Vaccinated Britons who catch Covid experience a milder illness, according to data from a symptom-tracking app.

King’s College London epidemiologists found only a third of those with at least one dose got the ‘classic’ symptoms — a high temperature, new continuous cough and loss of taste and smell.

For comparison, among people who had not been jabbed more than half suffered the normal warning signs.

Numerous studies have found coronavirus vaccines currently being deployed in the UK are very effective at stopping people spreading the virus or becoming infected, and drastically cut the rates of hospitalisation and death. 

But no jab is perfect. Some vaccinated people will still get infected, meaning they could be struck down with symptoms. 

Scientists point out, however, that the symptoms they suffer are far ‘less severe’ than if they had not been vaccinated.

More than two thirds of adults — 35.3million — have now received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine. Almost 18million adults — 33.5 per cent — are fully inoculated.

King’s College London epidemiologists found people who had been vaccinated suffered milder symptoms if they caught the virus. Pictured: A woman is vaccinated at Hull city hall, England, on May 7

More than two thirds of adults in Britain - or 35million - have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine

More than two thirds of adults in Britain – or 35million – have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine 


Below are the most common symptoms of coronavirus as reported by 4,182 un-vaccinated people who tested positive for the disease.

They entered their symptoms into the Covid Symptom Study app. 

People who have received at least one dose of the vaccine are more likely to face milder symptoms, studies suggest.

% of individuals ever experiencing symptom



Loss of smell

Persistent cough

Sore throat


Shortness of breath 








Skipped meals

Chest pain

Hoarse voice


Severe fatigue

Abdominal pain


Severe shortness of breath 









Data came from the ZOE symptom-tracking app, which relies on daily reports from more than a million Britons to monitor key symptoms and track the spread of the disease.

But as more participants have received their first dose, scientists behind the study say the warning signs of Covid infection are starting to shift.

It is thought more people who catch the virus after being jabbed are suffering symptoms including fatigue and shortness of breath. 

Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist who leads the study, told the Telegraph the results suggest that infections are less severe in people who have been jabbed.

He said vaccinated Britons who catch Covid will ‘get less symptoms, they’ll be less severe [and] they won’t be classic’.

Professor Spector added: ‘So do keep an open mind and do get a test when we ask you to.

‘That way we’ll keep a close eye on it, and make sure that even if mild, you’re not going to pass it on to other people.

He added: ‘The importance of our survey is getting even greater because the disease is shifting.

‘The fact that we haven’t relied on those three symptoms like official Government ones allows us much more breadth to find out what’s really going on, and whether not only the new variants might be causing different symptoms.’

The NHS currently only recognises three symptoms as early warning signs of an infection with the virus.

But experts have repeatedly called for this list to be expanded, saying it misses cases in the early stages — increasing the risk of the virus being transmitted.

The US-based CDC and other countries have identified more than ten Covid warning signs, including fatigue, headache and muscle aches.

The CDC is yet to produce a separate list of symptoms for those who have been vaccinated against the virus. 

The ZOE Covid Symptom study last year spearheaded calls to get loss of taste and smell recognised as a key symptom by the NHS.

Britain is currently rolling out three Covid vaccines, made by AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna. 

The UK is currently vaccinating over-40s. Experts claim the country remains on track to offer a first dose to everyone by the end of July. 


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