Frequency and timing of adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines; A multi-country cohort event monitoring study.

Publication date: Mar 06, 2024

During the COVID-19 pandemic, EMA set-up a large-scale cohort event monitoring (CEM) system to estimate incidence rates of patient-reported adverse drug reactions (ADRs) of different COVID-19 vaccines across the participating countries. This study aims to give an up to date and in-depth analysis of the frequency of patient-reported ADRs after the 1st, 2nd, and booster vaccination, to identify potential predictors in developing ADRs and to describe time-to-onset (TTO) and time-to-recovery (TTR) of ADRs. A CEM study was rolled out in a period ranging from February 2021 to February 2023 across multiple European countries; The Netherlands, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. Analysis consisted of a descriptive analyses of frequencies of COVID-19 vaccine-related ADRs for 1st, 2nd and booster vaccination, analysis of potential predictors in developing ADRs with a generalized linear mixed-effects model, analysis of TTO and TTR of ADRs and a sensitivity analysis for loss to follow-up (L2FU). A total of 29,837 participants completed at least the baseline and the first follow-up questionnaire for 1st and 2nd vaccination and 7,250 participants for the booster. The percentage of participants who reported at least one ADR is 74. 32% (95%CI 73. 82-74. 81). Solicited ADRs, including injection site reactions, are very common across vaccination moments. Potential predictors for these reactions are the brand of vaccine used, the patient’s age, sex and prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. The percentage of serious ADRs in the study is low for 1st and 2nd vaccination (0. 24%, 95%CI 0. 19–0. 31) and booster (0. 26%, 95%CI 0. 15, 0. 41). The TTO was 14 h (median) for dose 1 and slightly longer for dose 2 and booster dose. TTR is generally also within a few days. The effect of L2FU on estimations of frequency is limited. Despite some limitations due to study design and study-roll out, CEM studies can allow prompt and almost real-time observations of the safety of medications directly from a patient-centered perspective, which can play a crucial role for regulatory bodies during an emergency setting such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Concepts Keywords
February Adverse drug reactions
Sex Cohort event monitoring
Slovakia COVID-19 vaccination
Vaccines Pandemic
SARS-CoV-2 infection


Type Source Name
disease VO frequency
disease MESH COVID-19
disease IDO country
disease MESH adverse drug reactions
disease VO vaccination
disease VO time
disease VO COVID-19 vaccine
disease MESH injection site reactions
disease VO vaccine
pathway REACTOME SARS-CoV-2 Infection
disease VO dose
disease VO study design
disease MESH emergency

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