A snapshot global survey on side effects of COVID-19 vaccines among healthcare professionals and armed forces with a focus on headache

Armando Perrotta, Giuseppe Biondi-Zoccai, Wael Saade, Fabio Miraldi, Andrea Morelli, Antonino G Marullo, Elena Cavarretta, Roberto Carnevale, Elena DE Falco, Isotta Chimenti, Sebastiano Sciarretta, Paola Frati, Mamas A Mamas, Sara Ciardi, Luigi Frati, Giacomo Frati, Mariangela Peruzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: New messenger RNA (mRNA) and adenovirus-based vaccines (AdV) against Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have entered large scale clinical trials. Since healthcare professionals (HCPs) and armed forces personnel (AFP) represent a high-risk category, they act as a suitable target population to investigate vaccine-related side effects, including headache, which has emerged as a common complaint.

METHODS: We investigated the side-effects of COVID-19 vaccines among HCPs and AFP through a 38 closed-question international survey. The electronic link was distributed via e-mail or via Whatsapp to more than 500 contacts. Responses to the survey questions were analyzed with bivariate tests.

RESULTS: A total of 375 complete surveys have been analyzed. More than 88% received an mRNA vaccine and 11% received AdV first dose. A second dose of mRNA vaccine was administered in 76% of individuals. No severe adverse effects were reported, whereas moderate reactions and those lasting more than 1 day were more common with AdV (P=0.002 and P=0.024 respectively). Headache was commonly reported regardless of the vaccine type, but less frequently, with shorter duration and lower severity that usually experienced by participants, without significant difference irrespective of vaccine type.

CONCLUSIONS: Both mRNA and AdV COVID-19 vaccines were safe and well tolerated in a real-life subset of HCPs and AFP subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-331
Number of pages8
JournalPanminerva Medica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • BNT162 Vaccine
  • COVID-19/prevention & control
  • COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage
  • ChAdOx1 nCoV-19
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Headache/chemically induced
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vaccination/adverse effects
  • Young Adult


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