vaccine side effects

Last updated on: 15.11.2023

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Vaccination reactions are possible but typical complaints after a vaccination: depending on the vaccine, these are: redness, swelling and pain at the vaccination site, also general reactions such as fever, headache and pain in the limbs and malaise. These reactions are an expression of the desired confrontation of the immune system with the vaccine and usually subside completely after a few days. Information on the type and frequency of adverse reactions can be found in the product information of the respective vaccine.

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Autoimmune reactions following vaccination: The mechanism of autoimmune reactions following vaccination is still unclear. On the one hand, a genetic predisposition to vaccine-induced autoimmunity is suspected, as only a few test subjects developed autoimmune diseases after vaccination. On the other hand, the immune system could trigger autoimmune diseases through cross-reactivity due to the similarity of some vaccine components with certain human proteins (so-called molecular mimicry). In addition, it has been postulated that the activation of toll-like receptors of antigen-presenting cells may play a role in the recurrence of autoimmune diseases after vaccination (Sagy I et al. 2022). It is known that tetanus toxoid, influenza and polio vaccines as well as other vaccines have an influence on the formation of autoantibodies and the development of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, bullous pemphigoid, pemphigus vulgaris, autoimmunolöogical myositis and systemic lupus erythematosus (Hinterseher J et al. 2023). Furthermore, influenza vaccines have been reported to trigger a transient flare in approximately 19.4% of patients with SLE within 6 weeks (Crowe SR et al. 2011). There are also some cases in which SLE occurred after vaccination against hepatitis B, tetanus or typhoid fever.

See also Autoimmune diseases of the skin and SARS-CoV-2 vaccination

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  1. Crowe SR et al. (2011) Influenza vaccination responses in human systemic lupus erythematosus: impact of clinical and demographic features. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 63: 2396-2406.
  2. Hinterseher J et al. (2023) Autoimmune skin diseases and SARS-CoV-2 vaccination - a meta-analysis.JDDG 21: 853-862
  3. Sagy I et al. (2022) New-onset systemic lupus erythematosus following BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine: a case series and literature review. Rheumatol Int 42: 2261-2266.
  4. Communications of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin. Retrieved on 26.1.2021

Last updated on: 15.11.2023