Medical Matters > Vaccinations: Covid-19

ME Essential Spring 2023


I appreciate that people with ME/CFS can have an exacerbation of symptoms following any type of vaccination, and that a significant minority have had a more severe and persisting adverse reaction to the Covid vaccines. However, I am still keen to continue having this protection so as long as the Covid-19 virus remains in circulation.

My 2022 Autumn Covid Booster resulted in a moderate exacerbation of ME/CFS symptoms – which lasted for about 4 weeks. So I’m querying whether it might be more sensible to allow people with ME/CFS to split the dose in half and have two smaller doses on two separate occasions. I discussed this with my GP but he wasn’t very supportive and has declined to do so. What do you think?


There is no simple answer to this very interesting question. On the one hand, we know that people with ME/CFS are more likely to have an exacerbation of symptoms or experience a relapse if they catch a Covid-19 infection – which is why we have produced a To Whom It May Concern letter supporting the 2023 Autumn Covid Booster vaccination and another highlighting clinical vulnerability to Covid-19 (see below).

Splitting the Covid-19 vaccine dose has been suggested as a way of reducing the risk of infection. However, we don’t have any anecdotal evidence to say this is so and I’m not aware of any published evidence relating to split doses and adverse reactions. There is also the possibility that having two half-doses may not have the same protective effect as one full-dose – which is why you are unlikely to be offered a split dose on the NHS. This is something that I will investigate further with the vaccine experts and return to when I have some answers. 


On the other hand, as you say, many people with ME/CFS have an exacerbation of symptoms following any vaccination.  And in the case of Covid vaccine, a small but significant number have had a more severe and prolonged relapse of their condition


    Information provided by The ME Association should not be construed as medical advice. Don't assume any new or worsened symptoms are simply the result of having ME/CFS or Long Covid. We recommend that any information you deem relevant is discussed with your NHS GP as soon as possible. It is important that you seek personalised medical advice from the GP who is in charge of your care and who knows you well.

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