Among young people aged 12–25 years, 5% have persistent long-term symptoms after COVID-19. This is evidenced by the latest quarterly update from December 2023. The results of the quarterly study are part of the Health Research for COVID-19 research programme. 

The Network for Health Research in Disasters (GOR Network) publishes a quarterly update on this page, summarising key results from survey research and data from primary care providers. The aim is to provide information to the municipalities, the provinces and the national government of the Netherlands to assist them in formulating policies.

Summary of research round 10

Research in December 2023 looked at young people aged 12–25 years. Adults were also surveyed separately during this period. Key results from youth research are summarised below.

Persistent symptoms after COVID-19 in 5% of young people

5% of the participants reported having persistent long-term symptoms after an infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This is also known as post-COVID or Long COVID. 20% (one-fifth) of these young people felt very limited in their daily lives as a result. 9% reported that their symptoms had persisted for as long as 2 to 3 years, while 30% said that their symptoms had started 1 or 2 years ago. 39% of the young people with persistent symptoms noted that the GP had given them a diagnosis. Another 44% reported that they themselves or people who know them well suspect that they have post-COVID. In June 2023, young people with post-COVID talked about how these symptoms are affecting their lives: Post-COVID Experiences (in Dutch).

Minor changes in young people’s health

The survey results from December 2023 show minor changes in young people’s health. The number of young people who reported having mental health problems remained about the same: 37%, compared to 35% in September 2023. More young people are still visiting their GP with anxiety than before the COVID-19 pandemic (2019), but the difference compared to 2019 is smaller than in the previous quarter. The frequency of GP visits related to suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts (although it is still higher) does seem to be slowly returning to where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of young people (79%) feel happy most of the time.

Many care workers still seeing COVID-19 consequences at work

Of the care workers who completed the survey (9% of total participants), more than three-quarters (78%) still see consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in their work. For example, they still see many patients with COVID-19 or long-term symptoms after COVID-19 in their day-to-day work. Care workers observe that people are still anxious about getting a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Some customs or ways of working that were adopted during the pandemic are still standard practice in healthcare, such as wearing face masks, working from home if you have a cold or COVID-19, and no longer shaking hands. Moreover, care workers still have an intense workload, not least due to catch-up care and colleagues who have post-COVID.