Paxlovid Rebound is Real

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

I successfully avoided Covid for over 2 years. A girls’ trip to Carmel in February yielded some positive results for my girlfriends, but not for me. I began to think my fully vaxxed, double boosted self was invincible. Go Moderna. So not true.

Early in May, we were invited to a family wedding in Napa. I was worried about the Omicron surge, but there was no way we could sit this one out. That said, at the last minute I did cancel the travel plans of my 88-year-old mom. I honestly feel some family members thought I was overreacting when I did that.

I came home with Covid. It started less than 3 days later with a tickle in my throat. I had been warned about that tickle, which I may have normally thought was allergies or the beginning of a cold, by my Omicron seasoned daughter.

The next morning’s home test revealed a faint positive line that was confirmed by a PCR test. I immediately found a great telemedicine service that prescribed Paxlovid for me that same day. My prayers were answered! I sat back and binged watched Mrs. Maisel.

I sailed pretty well through recovery, testing negative on day 8 and went out without a mask after day 10. That freedom was short-lived. On day 12, my birthday, when I was away with my entire family, the symptoms started again and I tested positive — this time the line was NOT faint. I immediately packed up my car and my cat and left my family, including my husband there to celebrate at my birthday dinner without me.

I was definitely depressed, but resigned myself to another five days of relatively mild cold-like symptoms, quarantine and Mrs. Maisel. I was completely wrong. The symptoms came back with a vengeance unlike the first time. Constant headache, ear ache, fever, sinus pressure and worse congestion.

As I combed the internet and saw Twitter exploding with the same news, I began to read @bob_wachter on Twitter. Bob is the Chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine, and the same thing happened to his wife. While Pfizer sets this rebound rate at around 2%, Bob’s Twitter poll set it more around 40%. Since then I’ve seen another doctor’s report to be around 25% of her patients. I’m not sure all the people opting to take Paxlovid know that.

Experts are still saying that Paxlovid curtails severe illness, and hospitalization by nearly 90% — even if they rebound. I’m now going on 18 days of this, and feeling better daily, but I’m honestly not sure I would take it again knowing what I know now.



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Rebecca Daugherty

Former corporate entertainment marketing exec. Lover of words, books, cats, coffee, nature, family, friends and laughter.