A case-control study of autoimmune AEFIs following COVID-19 vaccination reported to VAERS
Autoimmune adverse effects following immunisation (AEFIs) are widely regarded as a chief concern driving vaccine hesitancy. This case-control study seeks to shed light on the true risk of autoimmune AEFIs associated with the COVID-19 vaccine through a case-control analysis of VAERS reports. Reports of autoimmune aetiology were matched with reports of non-autoimmune controls. Statistical analysis reveals that the safety profile of COVID-19 vaccines with regard to autoimmune AEFIs is highly
... able. In particular, neuroautoimmune AEFIs have statistically significant reporting odds ratios below unity (Guillain-Barre syndrome: 0.35, multiple sclerosis: 0.70, transverse myelitis: 0.79), indicating a reduced association of reports of these conditions with the COVID-19 vaccine versus other vaccines. Only three autoimmune aetiologies exceed a ROR of 2.0 and thus present a potential signal. Of these, myasthenia gravis (ROR = 3.90, p < 0.001, 95% CI: 2.63-5.80) may be the result of epidemiological confounding factors not sufficiently controlled by matching, as the population most likely to develop myasthenia gravis was strongly prioritised in the COVID-19 vaccine's initial rollout. Immune thrombocytopaenia (ROR = 26.83, p < 0.001, 95% CI: 16.93-42.54) is a clear safety signal, confirming a large number of case reports and studies that indicate a risk of immune thrombocytopaenic events following the COVID- 19 vaccine. The lone strong safety signal of immune thrombocytopaenia notwithstanding, this study attests to the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine where autoimmune conditions are concerned. Through quantifying the risk of autoimmune disorders associated with COVID-19 vaccination, this study contributes to a growing body of evidence supporting the safety of such vaccines.