Corona vaccinations are generally well tolerated – serious side effects are rare. Nevertheless, there are people who suffer from similar symptoms after vaccination as long-Covid sufferers. Experts suspect a connection with hidden diseases.

It is estimated that around ten percent of all those infected suffer from Long-Covid even after their corona infection has subsided. Among the more common of more than 200 reported symptoms

Such long-Covid symptoms can also occur after vaccination. They are known as post-vac syndrome. To the outrage of many of those affected, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach explained the post-vac syndrome in a vaccination information video primarily by saying that those affected could concentrate less well after the vaccination. Although he also mentioned “post-Covid-like” symptoms, his statement made it seem as if the main symptom was a lack of concentration.

Post-Vac is just as diverse and vague as Long-Covid. These include cardiac arrhythmia, pain, brain fog and signs of paralysis in the extremities. “Basically, this is long-Covid – just not after the infection, but because of the vaccination,” explains cardiologist Bernhard Schieffer in an interview with “Netdoktor”. He heads a long-Covid outpatient clinic at the University Hospital in Marburg, which now also takes care of people suffering from post-vac syndrome.

With post-vac syndrome, symptoms appear hours after vaccination for some, but a few days or weeks for others. Similar to Long-Covid, people who were in top form before the vaccination can be affected. Nevertheless, the post-vac syndrome occurs much less frequently than long-Covid. According to Schieffer, about one or two people in ten thousand are affected.

Nevertheless, a team of seven doctors is now taking care of post-vac patients in the Marburg outpatient clinic. “There are now 4,000 people on our waiting list,” says Schieffer “Netdoktor”. Among those affected are mainly young women, who make up about 75 percent of the patients.

Similar to Long-Covid, the exact causes of Post-Vac Syndrome have not yet been clarified. Doctors assume an inflammatory reaction in the body. For example, in some people, the spike protein can cause the production of autoantibodies that attack their own body. These autoantibodies could actually also be found in post-vac patients – but not in all.

Genetic factors could play a role, as well as hidden infections. For Schieffer and his colleagues, the first task is to find out where exactly the symptoms come from – and whether they are actually related to the vaccination. The detailed examination, which includes blood tests, stress tests and ultrasound examinations, often reveals previous illnesses that the patient knew nothing about: “You wouldn’t believe what we find there,” says Schieffer in an interview with the ” Time “.

In fact, the doctors found pre-existing conditions or existing infections in many of their patients – from Lyme disease to toxoplasmosis and worms. That then explains the complaints in many cases. “Some symptoms are caused by hidden other infectious diseases such as Lyme disease or similar diseases,” explains the expert.

Even if these infections were previously harmless and went unnoticed, they are still problematic in connection with vaccination. “If you vaccinate into such smoldering infections, the immune system can derail in rare cases,” explains the cardiologist. Metabolic disorders and allergies can also ensure that a vaccination triggers a violent autoimmune reaction. This can manifest itself in the form of fever, exhaustion, tachycardia, dizziness and nerve pain, says Schieffer.

Similar to long-Covid sufferers, post-vac syndrome is difficult to diagnose. Affected people often have a medical odyssey behind them before they finally end up in the outpatient clinic. Not only the diagnosis, but also the treatment is difficult. If there is a cause, “we first treat the underlying disease, the infection, the allergy or the metabolic disorder,” explains Schieffer at “Zeit”.

Immune-boosting therapies, vitamin D and a special anti-inflammatory, low-histamine diet should also help to down-regulate the immune system again. The earlier patients present, the better. Because once the immune system has worked uncontrollably for a long time, it is extremely difficult to turn it back on.

However, Schieffer and his colleagues no longer make a real difference between long-Covid and post-vac syndrome. “Today we are talking about long-Covid symptoms after corona infection and a much rarer one after vaccination,” says Schieffer. “But it is assumed that the underlying mechanisms are identical because the causative antigen, the spike protein, is the same,” he continues to explain at “Zeit”.

Schieffer also speculates with “Netdoktor” that patients who suffer from post-vaccination syndrome may be more likely to develop long-Covid after an illness. Because the spike protein, which presumably triggers the immune reaction after vaccination, is also brought by the virus itself.