Adverse events and overall health and wellbeing after COVID-19 vaccination: interim results from the VAC4COVID cohort safety study

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Objectives: To describe the incidence of adverse events (AEs), reactogenicity symptoms, menstrual changes and overall self-rated improvement in health and well-being after COVID-19 vaccination.

Design: VAC4COVID is an ongoing prospective, active observational, post-authorisation cohort safety study (PASS) of UK-approved vaccines for COVID-19 disease.

Setting: The study is conducted through a secure website ( by MEMO Research, University of Dundee, UK.

Participants: 16 265 adult (18 years or older) UK residents with a valid email address and internet access.

Interventions: Any UK-authorised COVID-19 vaccination.

Main outcome measures: The outcomes reported in this interim analysis include AEs, reactogenicity-type AEs (headache, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, fever, nausea, dizziness or local vaccine reaction), menstrual changes and reported improvement in overall health and well-being.

Results: 11 475 consented participants (mean age 54.8 years) provided follow-up data between 2 February and 5 October 2021 (mean follow-up duration 184 days), by which date 89.2% of participants had received two vaccine doses. 89.8% of 5222 participants who completed a follow-up questionnaire in the 7 days after any COVID-19 vaccination reported no AEs. The risk of experiencing any event (not necessarily vaccine-related) requiring hospitalisation was less than 0.2%. 43.7% of post-vaccination follow-up records reported improvement in health and well-being. Reactogenicity-type reactions were more common in the week after the first dose of ChAdOx1 than BNT162b2 (7.8% vs 1.6%), but this relationship was reversed after the second dose (1.3% vs 3.1%). 0.3% of women reported menstrual symptoms after vaccination; no differences between vaccine type or dose order were detected.

Conclusions: The study provides reassuring data on low rates of AEs after COVID-19 vaccination. Differences in reactogenicity-type AE profiles between ChAdOx1 and BNT162b2 and between first and second doses of these vaccines were observed.

Trial registration number: ISRCTN95881792; Pre-results.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere060583
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Early online date1 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • adverse events
  • clinical pharmacology
  • COVID-19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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