Long COVID: I have questions about getting the booster vaccine

Posted by ebergfeld @ebergfeld, Dec 9, 2021

Hello and thank you all for this forum. I am writing for my husband who was sick with Covid Feb 2020 and began presenting long covid issues last winter (lungs, physiological changes to heat/cold tolerance, headaches, insomnia, etc) but things worsened when he was vaccinated last spring: fatigue, speech degradation, mood changes, depression) and he is wanting to get the booster but concerned of any further long term impacts. Has anyone else dealt with worsening conditions post vaccine and/or post booster? We both firmly support being fully vaccinated and getting boosted and understand that his physiological response is an anomaly.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Post-COVID Recovery & COVID-19 group.

Welcome, @ebergfeld. According to Mayo Clinic:
"An additional dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people who are fully vaccinated and might not have had a strong enough immune response. In contrast, a booster dose is recommended for people who are fully vaccinated and whose immune response weakened over time. Read more details here https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-boosters

Recent research also suggests that people who got COVID-19 in 2020 and then received mRNA vaccines produce very high levels of antibodies that are likely effective against current and, possibly, future variants. Some scientists call this hybrid immunity. Further research is needed." https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-if-already-had-covid

Does your husband have any underlying health issues, like an autoimmune condition?

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@colleenyoung

Welcome, @ebergfeld. According to Mayo Clinic:
"An additional dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people who are fully vaccinated and might not have had a strong enough immune response. In contrast, a booster dose is recommended for people who are fully vaccinated and whose immune response weakened over time. Read more details here https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-boosters

Recent research also suggests that people who got COVID-19 in 2020 and then received mRNA vaccines produce very high levels of antibodies that are likely effective against current and, possibly, future variants. Some scientists call this hybrid immunity. Further research is needed." https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-if-already-had-covid

Does your husband have any underlying health issues, like an autoimmune condition?

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Thank you Colleen, no he has no underlying health issues. He is ultra sensitive to some drugs – one benadryl will wipe him out for the day (for example). He has been a very fit, healthy individual – 2 yrs ago he biked across WI in a day (234 miles, ave 17 mph) and he struggles with 15-20 min on the elliptical now and can do about 10 miles on the bike. Breathing issues continue – SOB, coughing, etc. He has tried to get into Mayo to be seen but doesn't fit the protocol due to no positive covid test as he was sick so early (friends went to NYC and he was exposed through them when they returned). Initial illness lasted about 3 weeks and didn't really see the long covid issues until the following winter (early 2021). He has been through a myriad of tests this summer at UW and luckily all have ruled out anything major but the system wide symptoms align with long covid and no one here at UW has been able to provide anything for a protocol for improvement. I have seen a recommendation for asthma inhalers on this list – perhaps that is something we can ask for via our PCP – would you recommend this or any other exercises (he is doing breathing exercises he learned via years in martial arts)? Many thanks, Ellen & Ric

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@ebergfeld

Thank you Colleen, no he has no underlying health issues. He is ultra sensitive to some drugs – one benadryl will wipe him out for the day (for example). He has been a very fit, healthy individual – 2 yrs ago he biked across WI in a day (234 miles, ave 17 mph) and he struggles with 15-20 min on the elliptical now and can do about 10 miles on the bike. Breathing issues continue – SOB, coughing, etc. He has tried to get into Mayo to be seen but doesn't fit the protocol due to no positive covid test as he was sick so early (friends went to NYC and he was exposed through them when they returned). Initial illness lasted about 3 weeks and didn't really see the long covid issues until the following winter (early 2021). He has been through a myriad of tests this summer at UW and luckily all have ruled out anything major but the system wide symptoms align with long covid and no one here at UW has been able to provide anything for a protocol for improvement. I have seen a recommendation for asthma inhalers on this list – perhaps that is something we can ask for via our PCP – would you recommend this or any other exercises (he is doing breathing exercises he learned via years in martial arts)? Many thanks, Ellen & Ric

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I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s experience. This virus is very unpredictable, but also the treatments for prevention. I too have questions about the booster and possibility of hyper inflammation or excessive response to the booster. I had liver failure in May 2021,all major things ruled out, typical viruses ruled out (Hepatitis, Epstein) no other explanation besides “a viral response ” We assume it was covid.my liver function tests are normalizing now but I also have a high ANA level and it is rising. I am nervous that it triggered an autoimmune disease. I also work with COVID daily and am not sure if the risk of reinfection or the booster risk is worse. And what doctors might be best to give this advice?

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@ebergfeld

Thank you Colleen, no he has no underlying health issues. He is ultra sensitive to some drugs – one benadryl will wipe him out for the day (for example). He has been a very fit, healthy individual – 2 yrs ago he biked across WI in a day (234 miles, ave 17 mph) and he struggles with 15-20 min on the elliptical now and can do about 10 miles on the bike. Breathing issues continue – SOB, coughing, etc. He has tried to get into Mayo to be seen but doesn't fit the protocol due to no positive covid test as he was sick so early (friends went to NYC and he was exposed through them when they returned). Initial illness lasted about 3 weeks and didn't really see the long covid issues until the following winter (early 2021). He has been through a myriad of tests this summer at UW and luckily all have ruled out anything major but the system wide symptoms align with long covid and no one here at UW has been able to provide anything for a protocol for improvement. I have seen a recommendation for asthma inhalers on this list – perhaps that is something we can ask for via our PCP – would you recommend this or any other exercises (he is doing breathing exercises he learned via years in martial arts)? Many thanks, Ellen & Ric

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Interesting post. I live in WI and got covid late Feb/early early March 2020 . I could not get tested because my symptoms were not severe enough. However my mother who was 90 got tested once she was admitted to hospital. I now suffer from pressure in my left chest and what feels like bronchial congestion/irritation. In the beginning it was mostly a pressure on my left side so was checked out for heart issues with a stress test, and echo. As time went along it seemed to include my bronchial tubes and some wheezing. This started about April of this year (21); and I have an appt with a pulmonary specialist in a month after just having a pulmonary function test. I never thought of covid because my symptoms were irregular heart beat and a temp of only 99.9 for 1 day and in total it lasted only 3 days and that symptoms started over a year later (4/21). Oddly, during this time I also had like a 4month but f what appeared to be TMJ, very strange. That eventually went away and I've not had issues in the last 3 months. But again with TMJ and the jaw joints getting inflamed…I thought about covid given I never had it before, or grind my teeth, or clench them, these symptoms just showed up and (eventually) left. I did go on anti-inflammatory meds for 2 weeks… I have been setting up the testing myself, while looking new PCP as mine has retired. Bujt I do not think most PCP's have much experience w' long covid? I also am hoping that it is nothing more serious, but it has reduced my time out walking…Good luck on making progress on this…Since your husband was also early in covid and does not meet protocol; curious if a positive anti-body test would help?

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@bunzman

Interesting post. I live in WI and got covid late Feb/early early March 2020 . I could not get tested because my symptoms were not severe enough. However my mother who was 90 got tested once she was admitted to hospital. I now suffer from pressure in my left chest and what feels like bronchial congestion/irritation. In the beginning it was mostly a pressure on my left side so was checked out for heart issues with a stress test, and echo. As time went along it seemed to include my bronchial tubes and some wheezing. This started about April of this year (21); and I have an appt with a pulmonary specialist in a month after just having a pulmonary function test. I never thought of covid because my symptoms were irregular heart beat and a temp of only 99.9 for 1 day and in total it lasted only 3 days and that symptoms started over a year later (4/21). Oddly, during this time I also had like a 4month but f what appeared to be TMJ, very strange. That eventually went away and I've not had issues in the last 3 months. But again with TMJ and the jaw joints getting inflamed…I thought about covid given I never had it before, or grind my teeth, or clench them, these symptoms just showed up and (eventually) left. I did go on anti-inflammatory meds for 2 weeks… I have been setting up the testing myself, while looking new PCP as mine has retired. Bujt I do not think most PCP's have much experience w' long covid? I also am hoping that it is nothing more serious, but it has reduced my time out walking…Good luck on making progress on this…Since your husband was also early in covid and does not meet protocol; curious if a positive anti-body test would help?

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My understanding is that due to his being vaccinated, he would be very likely to have a positive antibody test… and no, we haven't found many physicians within the UW system to be very well versed in long covid as of yet. Very frustrating while also understandable with the newness of the virus, the vaccines and the various responses of individuals to the virus (and potentially the vaccines as well). I have had little difficulty with the vaccines or booster and count myself lucky to be among the majority but even with the small percentage of people affected, overall, we have a burgeoning problem with so many folks being sick for such an extended time.

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That's right, I had my (anti-body) test before vaccine, but was not thinking about that differentiation. I had 3 tests spread out over 6 months as they were "included" with a blood donation; but the 1st one I had to get approved by my ins. co. Not sure that they would accept that as given no positive covid test, I was not a candidate for plasma donation. Aside from linking to covid;, sounds like they've had some success in dealing with symptoms. Given lack of experience; hope there is some dissemination of info and guidance going forward to the medical community, maybe with some covid "clearinghouse" outside Mayo's program? I think this is why each person must assess if the vaccine makes sense, plus be proactive in terms of seeking out help in this area if long covid seems to be indicated?

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Here are a few resources that may help answer some of the questions asked in this discussion.
– Survivor Corps https://www.survivorcorps.com/ Find clinics, webinars and more online and in your local area
– Mayo Clinic COVID-19 Information https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19 Information is regularly updated with latest information
– Mayo Clinic Post-COVID Recovery blog https://connect.mayoclinic.org/blog/post-covid-recovery/ Mayo Clinic post-COVID experts post latest research, practical tips and information as it develops.
– Strategies to manage post-COVID-19 symptoms https://connect.mayoclinic.org/blog/post-covid-recovery/tab/self-care/#ch-tab-navigation

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How long are booster shots effective? I had my Moderna vaccine booster last August and plan to go to Washington in January. Should I get another booster shot?

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FULLY VAXXED ARE GETTING SERIOUSLY ILL WITH BREATHING PROBLEMS AND HEART attacks….IS THIS FROM THE VAXXES?

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@margaretob

FULLY VAXXED ARE GETTING SERIOUSLY ILL WITH BREATHING PROBLEMS AND HEART attacks….IS THIS FROM THE VAXXES?

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Good question, Margaret. There is a lot of confusing information out there. Some people with underlying conditions have reported side effects from the vaccines. However, the omicron variant of COVID is by far the bigger threat causing serious illness including breathing problems and cardiac issues.

From Mayo Clinic:
"The delta (B.1.617.2) variant is nearly twice as contagious as earlier variants and might cause more severe illness. The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people. People who are fully vaccinated can get vaccine breakthrough infections and spread the virus to others. However, it appears that vaccinated people spread COVID-19 for a shorter period than do unvaccinated people. While research suggests that COVID-19 vaccines are slightly less effective against the delta variant, the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines still appear to provide protection against severe COVID-19.

The omicron (B.1.1.529) variant spreads more easily than other variants, including delta. But it’s not yet clear if omicron causes more severe disease. It’s expected that people who are fully vaccinated likely can get breakthrough infections and spread the virus to others. However, the COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be effective at preventing severe illness. Early research also suggests that a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine improves protection against severe disease caused by omicron, according to Pfizer. This variant also might reduce the effectiveness of some monoclonal antibody treatments."

Read more guidance from Mayo Clinic here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-variant-vaccine

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My husband and I both got our booster shots last Thursday. Per usual on Friday I had a mild case of the flu for about 12 hours, chills, slight fever, runny nose, cough. Pretty miserable. In November we both had COVID. My husband first then me. But thanks to the vaccination neither of us ended up in the hospital! I was the most likely candidate for a ventilator since I usually have a bout of pneumonia every winter. My lungs are in sad condition due to having asthma since the age of 12. I am not blaming the booster for getting ill, no matter what kind of shot I get I always have some reaction to it. If I had not been vaccinated I know I would have been hospitalized. With just seasonal flu I have a difficult time coping and recovering so I can honestly say the vaccinations saved my life.

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All, here's an article from Science Immunology that I found very interesting, entitled "COVID-19 vaccine side effects: The positives about feeling bad" and the link: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciimmunol.abj9256

I also just read this via National Geographic last night and found it very informative regarding issues pertaining to brain/neural impact – scary yet very informative which gives me hope that we might be finding more answers and protocols for healing "Can COVID-19 alter your personality? Here's what brain research shows." and the link to the article is here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/can-covid-19-alter-your-personality-heres-what-brain-research-shows

Sending everyone who is dealing with long covid, either personally or as a supporter, a big virtual hug and a happy new year – hang in there… you are not alone and science/medicine will eventually prevail… it just takes time and that is a hard pill to swallow many days. Ellen

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