Greg Vanichkachorn, M.D., M.P.H.
Despite our best efforts, the COVID-19 pandemic continues. At this time, we should probably consider changing the name to COVID-21. With the rise of the delta variant and the surge of cases across the US, many concerned patients with Post COVID Syndrome (PCS) have come to us with questions. The most common questions have been:
- If I get reinfected, will it make my already prolonged symptoms worse?
- Am I more immune to delta due to my Post COVID Syndrome?
- Can you get Post COVID Syndrome with the delta variant?
- Should I get vaccinated? Should I get the booster?
At this time, it is too early to tell what the delta variant could do to someone who is experiencing Post COVID Syndrome. We also do not know if the delta variant can cause PCS. Fortunately, at Mayo Clinic we have not seen many patients with PCS who have become reinfected. And with any luck, we hope that such situations will continue to be rare.
As for immunity, while the PCS may be linked to an overactive immune system, there is no indication that PCS makes someone less likely to be infected with COVID again. Due to the prolonged deconditioning, stress, poor sleep, and poor nutrition often seen in patients with PCS, patients could possibly be more at risk of infection.
Finally, there is the question regarding vaccination. Without a doubt, there is risk from the vaccine, just like there is risk from any medical intervention. We have seen firsthand some of the adverse reactions reported in the media and in support groups, and we fully understand the concerns of patients. However, there is also risk from infection with COVID-19. There is risk of pain and suffering. Risk of prolonged symptoms for months. And the risk of death. The risk from COVID-19 far outweighs the risk of the vaccine. Without any hesitancy, we recommend vaccination and boosters.
The best way to prevent Post COVID Syndrome is to not have a COVID-19 infection. Get vaccinated.