Background. Post-acute COVID-19 consequences are gaining global recognition. This study explores Long COVID characteristics and associated mental health impact/s among the highly vaccinated adult population of Malta.
Methods. A social media survey gathered demographics, vaccination, and COVID-19 data. Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 assessment tools were used for anxiety and depression. Quantitative analyses were performed.
Results. 41% reported Long COVID, mostly female, 30-39 years, absence of chronic disease/s and vaccinated. Shortness of breath commonest persistent symptom among males, and fatigue for females. Significantly higher depression scores were present in Long COVID cohort compared to no persistent symptoms (p=0.001) and never acquiring COVID-19 (p=<0.01). A significant higher anxiety scores was present for Long COVID cohort than never acquiring COVID-19 (p=<0.01).
Conclusions. Long COVID occurs even in healthy individuals and vaccinated, while exacerbating mental health burdens. Urgent action is required to manage Long COVID and preventing the sequela.