Adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines have been of interest since their emergency authorization. Cutaneous manifestations of the vaccines are not well studied. We aimed to characterize cutaneous reactions to the Moderna (mRNA-1273) and the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) COVID-19 vaccines on a large, national scale.
The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System was filtered for cutaneous and hair and nail reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines. Patient demographics and past medical histories, vaccine manufacturer and dosing, symptom timing, reaction location, and patient outcomes were extracted from each report.
As of December 24, 2021, there were 67,273 cutaneous reactions to all COVID-19 vaccines, with most patients receiving the Moderna (mRNA-1273) or Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) vaccines. The most common reactions overall were injection-site reaction, urticaria, and papular rash, with injection-site reaction more common after the Moderna (mRNA-1273) vaccine, and all other cutaneous reactions more common after the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) vaccine. Patients with past histories of psoriasis, urticaria, and local site reactions to a vaccine were more likely to report these same symptoms after the COVID-19 vaccine.
Patients should be counseled about these potential dermatologic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines. Most occur within the first few days after vaccination, and are mild and self-limiting. Patients should therefore be encouraged that it is safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from a dermatological perspective.