The characteristics of COVID-19 vaccine-related headache: Clues gathered from the healthcare personnel in the pandemic

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Ekizoglu E., Gezegen H., Yalinay Dikmen P., Orhan E. K., Ertas M., Baykan B.

CEPHALALGIA, vol.42, no.4-5, pp.366-375, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 4-5
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/03331024211042390
  • Journal Name: CEPHALALGIA
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.366-375
  • Keywords: COVID-19 vaccine, vaccination, vaccine, headache, adverse event, INFLUENZA VACCINE, IMMUNOGENICITY, SAFETY, ASSOCIATION
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Introduction Headache is a frequent adverse event after viral vaccines. We aimed to investigate the frequency and clinical associations of COVID-19 vaccine-related headache. Methods The characteristics, associations of this headache, main comorbidities, headache history following the influenza vaccine and during COVID-19 were investigated using a web-based questionnaire. Results A total of 1819 healthcare personnel (mean age: 44.4 +/- 13.4 years, 1222 females), vaccinated with inactivated virus, contributed to the survey; 209 (11.4%) had been infected with COVID-19. A total of 556 participants (30.6%) reported headache with significant female dominance (36.1% vs. 19.3%), 1.8 +/- 3.5 (median: 1; IQR: 0-2) days following vaccination. One hundred and forty-four participants (25.9%) experienced headache lasting >= 3 days. Headache was mostly bilateral without accompanying phenomena, less severe, and shorter than COVID-19-related headache. The presence of primary headaches and migraine were significantly associated with COVID-19 vaccine-related headache (ORs = 2.16 [95% CI 1.74-2.68] and 1.65 [1.24-2.19], respectively). Headache during COVID-19 or following influenza vaccine also showed significant association with headache following COVID-19 vaccine (OR = 4.3 [95% CI 1.82-10.2] and OR = 4.84 [95% CI 2.84-8.23], respectively). Only thyroid diseases showed a significant association (OR = 1.54 [95% CI 1.15-2.08]) with vaccine-related headache among the common comorbidities. Conclusion Headache is observed in 30.6% of the healthcare workers following COVID-19 vaccine and mostly experienced by females with pre-existing primary headaches, thyroid disorders, headache during COVID-19, or headache related to the influenza vaccine.