March 29, 2020
The SARS-CoV-2 virus

The SARS-CoV-2 virus

The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a new appreciation for the role of public health. While our public health departments and hospitals continue to manage vaccination and cases resulting from new variants, we also know that those of you battling C. diff infections still need our help. Please know that we are still here for you through our Facebook page, C. diff Support Community and through our Contact Page.

We are also working with members of our Scientific Advisory Council to field and answer questions about C. diff and COVID-19. Please note that this is not medical advice. We are just providing general information to help guide your conversations with your healthcare providers.We will continue to update this blog post with additional questions and answers as we process them.

COVID-19 and C. diff Frequently Asked Questions

Will the mRNA vaccines the prevent COVID-19 infections make me vulnerable to a new or recurrent C. diff infection?

There is no evidence that any vaccine to prevent COVID-19 increase risk for C. diff infection, nor any plausible reason to think that may occur. These vaccines are not antibiotics. In fact, getting severe COVID and requiring hospitalization (and then potentially requiring antibiotics) may increase risk for C. diff so vaccination, by protecting against COVID hospitalization, may indirectly protect against C. diff.

Does having an active C. diff infection make me more vulnerable to coronavirus?
Possibly. Because the same loss of colonization resistance (having a health gut microbiome) that predisposes to C. diff infection may predispose to susceptibility to COVID-19, which does appear to have enteric transmission (can be transmitted by the mouth into the intestines).

Are people who have recovered from C. diff considered “immuno-compromised?” 

Not necessarily, unless the patient also has another underlying health issue (related or unrelated to CDI).

I had a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) for C. diff. Does that make me more vulnerable to COVID-19? 
We asked three doctors who perform FMT. They did not believe C. diff survivors who had recovered through FMT were at increased risk for COVID-19. They even suspect that some FMT recipients may have slightly better immunity, but there’s no data at this time.

Can COVID-19 be transmitted through a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT)? 
Possibly. On March 23, the FDA issued a Safety Alert regarding the possible transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 through fecal transplant. Read more on our blog. 

Can the drugs being used for COVID-19 reactive C. diff infections?
There are, at present, no drugs that have been definitively shown to be effective against COVID-19 specifically. There are investigational therapies that are being evaluated in clinical trials, including agents that are known to increase risk of CDI. COVID-19 can lead to bacterial infections requiring antibiotics, which can also increase risk of CDI.

Does actively taking vancomycin deplete my immune system?
No. It is unlikely that actively taking vancomycin would significantly reduce the numbers of immune cells or otherwise impair the immune system acutely. Patients taking vancomycin for C. difficile should not discontinue vancomycin because of concern of COVID-19.  However, vancomycin may also have risks relating to COVID-19 that have not yet been identified.

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  1. Shirley says:

    Recovered from covid and the next week tested positive for c-diff. Can you get c-diff from covid? Was not hospitalized and have not had antibiotics in a long time.

    1. Rebecca says:

      Same scenario. 3 months of gastric hell since positive Covid test. Starting second course of vancomycin. Never even had a fever.

      1. Karen says:

        I also have had cdiff for 3 months and am starting my fourth round of my vancomycin. The other antibiotic is $1000☹️

        1. Sara says:

          Dificid works best. Worth $1000 if you can get it for that.
          Dificid kicks it.
          Take probiotics after. Clean (esp bathroom) with Clorox)

        2. Nicole says:

          Call the company. They have a program for those who can’t afford

        3. Cindy says:

          I was diagnosed with C diff. I did research and found the miracle cure in addition to probiotic and vancomyicin was Oreganol Capsules. Oregano kills bacteria. You need to take the capsules so they reach the intestinal tract. My doctor was willing to try it. I purchased at a respected health store that sells supplements. Dont purchas from places like Walmart, CVS. I have not had problems and am happy to report I am through with c diff. Good luck.

          1. Angela says:

            My husband got his second covid vacine. 3 weeks later he is diagnosed with c diffe.

      2. Amanda says:

        I got C Diff for the first time in my life when I had COVID. However, mine was caused by a combo of my weakened immune system plus my dr prescribed amoxicillin and a steroid because he thought I had a sinus infection.
        I had an outbreak at my job and got tested. My Dr said that I could just stop taking the meds when I got a positive test result, that I would be fine but I wasn’t.
        After 14 days of horrible COVID symptoms, I tested negative and went back to work. They were giving the vaccine and my Dr told me I should get it even though I had just returned to work 2 days prior. He said I would be fine.
        I got the vaccine and I was so far from ok. Vaccine made me feel like I had COVID all over again. Plus it exacerbated and prolonged C Diff infection I didn’t even know I had. I fought C Diff from the end of January to mid-July.
        I was getting better and felt great UNTIL I was mandated to get 2nd shot recently because I am a healthcare worker. Now I am rushing to the bathroom at least 3X every morning. I have to take my stool sample in to get tested this morning. I am ordering Banatrol as we speak. If I am positive, my GI is ordering DIFICID. My insurance covers 4,000mg a month and my copay is $70. I’ll take it.
        If positive, this will be my 3rd recurrence and it means that Flagyl and Vanco did not work.
        It seems as if COVID and the vaccine are causing all types of damage in people. When I read the phrase “no evidence has been found” it frustrates me because there is evidence all over C Diff support groups that there is a link between COVID and increased C Diff infections.
        We may not have medical degrees but most people know their body and can tell when something has negatively impacted their health.
        I hope everyone here recovers from their infection. This is a terrible illness and needs more research and in my opinion, needs more media attention because it is life threatening but not many people have heard of it.

        1. Christian says:

          Hi Amanda, I am so sorry for your struggle with C. diff and COVID. However, we stand by there being no evidence of the mRNA vaccines are contributing to C. diff recurrences. We’ve heard from a few people who have had a C. diff recurrence around the time they received their first or second shot. But as far as we can tell, it’s an issue of correlation not causation. In other words, these people were likely to get a recurrence for reasons that have nothing to do with the vaccine, and it’s a coincidence that it happened after they received their shots. This is because there is no evidence that the mRNA vaccines cause disruption of the gut microbiome. We remain open to additional research and updating the information we’re providing.

    2. John says:

      In my experience, while a person is being treated with antibiotics, they needs to be taking probiotics (at least twice a day – that’s per an “Infectious Disease Specialist”).

      C-DIFF is kind of like “trench warfare” in the First World War – “Bad guys” have taken over some, most or all of the “friendly” territory. The antibiotics are like bombardments – the kill off the “bad guys”, but they also kill off most of the “good guys” in the process. If we don’t send in more “good guys” to hold the territory, the “bad guys” just move back in. The Probiotics are the good guys for the intestines, where C-DIFF dwells. Then the “hold-outs” have to be addressed.

      Re-infection is not unusual (though it is discouraging.

      Re-infection from one’s personal environment (i.e. – where you live) is not uncommon. The “C-DIFF spores” are viable for possibly a year or more. So, another thing that I did was to disinfect my entire apartment. I used “Professional Grade” disinfectants, to the extent that I could (Clorox ‘Fuzion’ for “hard surfaces”). The “dwell time” (the amount of time that the surface has to remain wetted with the disinfectant – also known as “contact time”) is important The “dwell” time for Clorox Fuzion against C-DIFF is 2 minutes. I used the “Oxy” type cleaners for “soft” surfaces (i.e. – carpet and upholstery).

      No subsequent problems, and my infection was “severe” (“Acute”) (the C-DIFF toxins damaged several organs).

      1. Grace says:

        Can I take the booster vaccine if Im on vancomycin for cdiff ?

    3. Carl says:

      I am passing block everytime I have a bowel movement. I had C-difff in the past and was told not to take antibiotics any more. I did get the Covid Shot and now I am passing blood again during all bowel movements. Could the Covid shot be causing this?

    4. Carl says:

      I am passing blood everytime I have a bowel movement. I had C-difff in the past and was told “not” to take antibiotics any more. I did get the Covid Shot and now I am passing blood again during all bowel movements. Could the Covid shot be causing this?

  2. Kirsten says:

    I’m interested in the same thing. I had a very bad upper respiratory illness for four weeks, followed by diarrhea. Tested positive for c diff. It’s been two months of living hell. I’ve lost 13 pounds and vancomycin is worst antibiotic I’ve had. I had not taken antibiotics in 20 years.

    1. Christian says:

      I don’t believe you can get C. diff from COVID. However, if your body is battling a virus and you’re not able to eat well or your overall immunity is suppressed, it may make you more vulnerable. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any research on it yet. There was a small study done that showed C. diff in COVID patients but they all had taken antibiotics.

      1. Michelle says:

        I just got over cdiff is it safe to take a covid shot ? And reintroduce antibiotic yo my body which is in a covid shot?

        1. Ray says:

          I got the first shot and got cdiff took antibiotics then received the second shot and got cdiff again so beware Goodluck

          1. Sara says:

            Dificid works best. Worth $1000 if you can get it for that.
            Dificid kicks it.
            Take probiotics after. Clean (esp bathroom) with Clorox)

          2. Teresa says:

            Me too.

        2. Belinda says:

          I have the question as yours. Hope someone can help with this question.

        3. Belinda says:

          I have the same question as yours. Hope someone can help with this question.

    2. Maureen says:

      Dificid is the antibiotic that helps me when I have Cdiff
      Vancomycin was terrible

      1. Jay says:

        Once you took that medication did your c diff come back

      2. Carl says:

        I had C-dfff and had the trans plant and got rid of it. I was told by the doctor not to take antibiotics anymore. I got the Covid shot earlier this year and now I am passing blood again but it is not Covid. I am waiting to have a scope done but I know it is not C-difff

        1. Carl says:

          So I meant not C-difff

  3. Jim says:

    I previously had C.diff. I am 78 and have high blood pressure and have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Given the latter two underlying health issues, does C.diff make me more vulnerable to Covid 19?

    1. Christian says:

      Hi Jim, I’m not aware of those making your more vulnerable to getting infected by COVID-19. But it does mean that you’re more likely to have a worse outcomes. So stay safe

  4. M says:

    Can being COVID positive make c diff flare up or return? I have not had c diff symptoms for years prior to this.

    1. Christian says:

      Not to my knowledge but it is a new disease so it’s worth checking with your doctor.

  5. Mari says:

    I had surgery was in the hospital for about a week and in that time i got c diff i just finished taking the antibiotics and ive just tested positive for covid and im worried i have really bad abdominal pain and diarrhea my mouth tastes like metal im scared to go back to the hospital because i dont want to worsen my infection

    1. Marilyn says:

      I had my first COVID shot February 1st.
      On February 5th I got diverticulitis, taking antibiotics. Now I may have c-Diff colitis!! Can I still get my second shot when it’s due while I have c-Diff colitis?

      1. Pat says:

        I am in the same situation, I got the first shot and got pneumonia and had to take antibiotics and vancomycin and a probiotic, now I am due for the second one tomorrow and I don’t know if I have c-def again or not there is no time to test.

        1. Maria says:

          What did you end up doing?

      2. Kristen says:

        I had c diff over a year ago. I got the 2nd covid shot today. Will the covid shot make my c diff come back? I have been going number 2 alot today but i dk if its bc of the food i eat

        1. Kathy says:

          Agree. I wish someone could help address this question. I have had reoccurring cdiff but clean for about 4 months now. Got 1st Covid vaccine and now seem to have cdiff symptoms. Didn’t consider that vaccine would cause this issue.

          1. Sara says:

            Antibiotics in C19 vaccines? Yikes.
            That should be disclosed esp for those who have c diff recurrences

  6. Kathryn says:

    25 yrs old. Tested positive for COVID took antibiotics and I now have C. Diff!

    1. Christian says:

      I am sorry to hear that. Let us know if we can help. – Christian

      1. Amanda says:

        I have previously had c diff. I worry about taking any medications and refuse antibiotics. Could the Covid vaccine have any chance of bringing c diff back?

        1. Juliet says:

          I’m in the same situation, did you got the vaccine? If so how did it go?

      2. Lee says:

        Is it safe to take Covid vaccine with an active c diff infection?

  7. Marina says:

    Im 25 and had a bout of c. Diff a little over a month ago. I am still having symptoms after one round of antibiotics but they arent bad enough to treat with another round. I have been working hard with my diet and probiotics to make myself heal but now my roommate has covid and im kinda freaked out that i could have it and have c. Diff. Do you guys reccomend florastor or any other probuotics to help me out? I really just want to heal this before/if/when i have covid

    1. Christian says:

      Hi Marina, I’m sorry to hear about your battle with C. diff. I imagine that having your roommate be positive for COVID is doubly scary. Unfortunately, we can’t provide specific medical advice. I recommend you speak with doctor treating your C. diff and ask what you might be able to do.

    2. Claudia says:

      Hi Marina,
      I had a bad case back in January of C-Diff. It took me two rounds of vancomycin and changing my diet completely. I cut out all gluten, no coffee, no alcohol & took florastor. I healed. However just got diagnosed with Covid 10/31 had to take antibiotics and feel like it’s coming back. Still fighting covid & praying this doesn’t weaken my immune system even more. Wishing you all the best. Just know diet plays a big role in your c-diff recovery

      1. April says:

        Hi Claudia,
        Did you take the florastor with the antibiotics? Did you take any other probiotics along with the florastor beings it’s only one strand? My Dr told me to take Align following treatment but I’m not so sure about it.

  8. James says:

    I had C-dff Colitis last
    Aug.2020; am I in a higher group to catch Covid 19?

  9. Diane says:

    It seems that CDIFF patients are at more risk for worse outcomes with COVID-19. Would it be possible for people with CDIFF to be able to get the vaccine at the same time as immunocompromised individuals. If so, how?

    1. Christian says:

      To my knowledge, C. diff patients don’t get any preferential treatment in terms of getting the vaccine earlier.

  10. Linda says:

    If I have c diff can I get the covid vaccine

  11. Jen says:

    I currently have CDIFF and just started Vancomycin. I was supposed to get my first Covid shot today. VA pharmacist said it was ok, but my GI doc said to wait 2-3 weeks. Anyone else in this boat ?

    1. Sandra says:

      I am and don’t know what to do I just got the call for shot tomorrow. Don’t know what to do

    2. Sara says:

      Yep. Not getting shot around time my body is dealing with C diff.
      No way

  12. Barbara says:

    I have had C Diff since January. I am on my second round of Vancomycin. I really want to get the Covid vaccine soon. Can I or should I wait until this gos away?

  13. John says:

    I got my first Moderna shot February 5 and the second one on March 2. Before all that I stepped on glass with my big toe and was prescribed Cephalexin 500 2X and Clindamycin 4 times a day. My doctor thinks thats how I got C Diff. Taking Metronidazole 500mg 3 X for 10 days. I feel better now after a week.

  14. T-aker says:

    My gastro physician suggested for me to list clindomycin &all myicins as problems for myself. I got CDiff after my second shoulder surgery. It was the drug that caused my c-diff .

  15. Kathie says:

    I’ve just been diagnosed with CDiff …my gastro Doctor is prescribing Dificid to treat it. I have an appointment on 3/22 for the Covid vaccine. Is it safe to get it if I’m being treated for CDiff?

    1. Christian says:

      Kathie, definitely speak with your doctor but my understanding is that it shouldn’t matter.

      1. Annie Hutchinson says:

        I took my last vacomycin antibiotics 3/26/21. I think I just got over cdiff is it safe to take a covid shot ?

    2. Sara says:

      I wouldn’t. I’m in midst of C Diff infection right now. Taking Dificid. My doctors said do not get C19 vaccine during this time. Plus give body time after for GI to repopulate using probiotics

  16. Karease says:

    I have had cdiff for 6 months now. I had diverticulitis and asked if there was another drug other than flagel to take. Well the GI Dr put me on what I now know is in the top 3 drugs that give you cdiff. After complaining for two week of diarrhea I landed in the hospital. Took vancomycin for 14 days. The same Dr wanted me to taper off almost immediately. I waited to day 10. It did not go away. I went to a new Dr who put me on Difcid. I felt better after the 10 day course, but 3 days later it came back. I recently went on Difcid for 30 days. I tested negative for the toxins but unfortunately tested positive for GDH! That means cdiff has made a colony. I am back on Difcid. I received my first Covid vaccine on the 10th day off Difcid. Everything went well, but then tested positive for GDH a week later. I don’t think it had anything to do with the vaccine. I get my next vaccine next week. I am due to be off Difcid for 4 days when I get the vaccine. I hope all goes well. I am truly scared I will never get rid of this horrible cdiff. The cleaning is overwhelming. I started taking florastor hopefully it will help restore good gut health. Any suggestions as to what to do would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Belinda says:

      Hi karease. I’m currently on vancomycin 250mg 4 x a day… antibiotics don’t just kill d bad bacteria but the normal flora or good bacteria in our gut too… that’swhy i think c diff is unending cycle to others. Decided to see a naturopathic doctor today who specializes in c. Diff colitis…. hope and pray that it would completely eliminate the c. Diff. You can do some research too re: naturopathic doctors or natural healing if you want….. just sharing.

    2. Sara says:

      Lots of probiotics (look for good brand with 10 strains)…add Sacromycees boularrdi too.
      Fermented foods help…sauerkraut, etc.
      Stay away from antacids

  17. Karen says:

    I had my first Pfizer vaccine 3 weeks ago. I was due for my second today and had to cancel because I just tested positive for CDIF.

    1. Amanda says:

      Had you taken any antibiotics? Do you have a hx of C Diff?

  18. Kathy says:

    I developed c diff the morning after my first Moderna shot 12/22. It has recurred twice now, I have been on vanco since Christmas. Shot did not cause the c diff; combo of clindamycin and moxifloxacin for diverticulitis did it. Got second shot at 5 weeks, as c diff recurred, and I wanted an extra week of vanco on board before getting it.

    I am a health care provider, I am so sick I am leaving my practice next week. End of a 25 year career. Doing the legwork to establish protocol for FMT at our rural hospital.

  19. gwen says:

    I have had c-diff for almost a year now, after taking clindamycin. I battle with diarrhea everyday. I vave been on Flagyl, Dificid, and currently on Vancomycin 1000 mg a day. I am waiting for a Fecal Transplant. Which due to covid they have halted until further notice. I have been hospitalized 2 times in the past year for it. I was septic the first time and was very ill. I struggle daily with food, everything I eat goes right through me. So I try not to eat. I am constantly exhausted, in pain and on the toilet. I received my first Moderna Covid shot 6 days ago. My stomach is in constant turmoil since then, it has become worse. I have only been able to eat crackers and toast, and still my symptoms are horrible. Constant cramping, gas, pain and diarrhea. This disease is no joke. You cannot possibly have a normal life, while you are battling it. Although God knows I try. I work full time as a nurse, and have 5 beautiful grandchildren, that I see as much as I can. But my symptoms keep me from doing alot of the things I want to do. I have hope that I am going to have my transplant, in the upcoming months. Until then, I take everyday as it comes. With a smile, or is that a grimace on my face. Oops gotta run!

    1. Sandy says:

      I have had CDiff 2x. My last bout was last July and I ended up in the ER. Lost 11 pounds in a week. Ended up on vacomycin and that did help me. I had a UTI and was given one antibiotic and two days later, was given another because she said it was a different type of infection and needed this med. This is how I got CDiff. The first medication the doctor put me on or CDiff did not help. Actually, made it worse. Finally got the V and it helped. My concern is taking the vaccine. Will this cause any issues??

  20. Brian says:

    I’ve had cdiff for over 7 year’s and multiple fecal transplant FMT after my first shot positive again

  21. Debbie says:

    My 82 year old mom has dealt with Cdiff for over a year. We do not know where or how she even got it. She has been treated with V very successful, as long as she stays on it. She recently received an Immune IV therapy, which was supposed to have a great success rate! She was doing fine UNTIL she received her Covid vaccine….she has now relapsed again. I have to wonder the connection between the vaccine and a “sudden” return of Cdiff? Now her option is to treat with V, and then stay on one pill every day for the rest of her life. I can find nothing that connects my opinion, but wonder how many relapse after getting one of these vaccines? It might be years before it is tracked or really reported. Anyone have a similar story?

  22. Carol says:

    I’m a 76 yr old who had appendix surgery in April and given lots of IV anitibiotics. Diarrhea started a week out of the hospital. Not knowing anything about Cdiff, I waited 2 more weeks to see my doctor. She didn’t tell me anything to do other than take Vancomycin and use a separate bathroom. Thank goodness for the internet! After my 2nd Rx of Vancomycin (tapered the 2nd time), taking Florastor, Allicin, and Sulforaphane Glucosinolate , I am happy to say I’m feeling good after my last antibiotic a week ago. Keep your fingers crossed for me… If I have a setback, I’m going to an integrative physician!

  23. Lynn says:

    I also got c dif 5 days after the first covid shot, and had it for 4 months. Vanco just kept the situation under control, but it was dificid that finally knocked it down. I take Align and Florastor for maintenance. My gastro doc told me no more Mrna shots for me. So I am in total defense mode and practicing all guidelines, for the rest of my life. Hopefully something better will come along for us immuno compromised due to Immuran for Chrohn’s.

  24. Lynda says:

    I started having problems with weakness, weight loss, nausea shortly after having my gallbladder removed. I was told this is normal so I didn’t see a Dr. On Feb 2nd I had my vaccines then all symptoms git worse. Currently on mitro it’s theb6thbday and isn’t getting any better.

  25. Rachel says:

    I completely sympathize with all of you. I was diagnosed with cdiff in March after some dental work. Since then, I’ve been on Vancomycin, Flagy, and another round of vancomycin tapered. Just recently I was found negative for Cdiff and am extremely thankful to God. I know because of him I’ve been able to overcome it. I do have some questions. Since being on the meds I’ve noticed some extreme anxiety and nerve issues. I often feel like I have goosebumps and feel out of breath. My mouth and chest feel cold on occasion as if I just ate a mint. It’s a very weird sensation. I’m working with a nutritionist to help with digestion and weight loss too. Along with that, I d like to get the COVID vaccine but am terrified. Has anyone had these symptoms after antibiotics?