Vaccine-induced interstitial lung disease: a rare reaction to COVID-19 vaccination

Alison M DeDent, Erica Farrand Correspondence to Dr Alison M DeDent, 513 Parnassus Ave, HSE 1314, Box 0111, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California CA 94143, USA;

The COVID-19 Vaccine: A Historic Achievement with a Rare Adverse Event

The first vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) was given emergency use listing by the World Health Organization (WHO) in December 2020. This historic achievement was the result of public and private institutional partnerships, as well as decades of foundational scientific research.

Two of the earliest vaccines authorised for widespread use were the BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. These vaccines demonstrated 95% and 94.1% efficacy, respectively, in phase II/III clinical trials. Notably, both vaccines have strong safety profiles, with the most common adverse events including injection site reactions, fever, chills, fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint aches. Postauthorisation reports of severe reactions, including anaphylaxis, have been extremely rare, occurring in only 4.5 reported cases per million doses.

In a recent case report published in the journal Thorax, Park and colleagues describe the first published case of COVID-19 vaccine-related interstitial lung disease (ILD). The patient was an 86-year-old man who developed an acute onset of fever, weakness, shortness of breath, and hypoxemia requiring high-flow nasal cannula one day after receiving a dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. He had no history of ILD, connective tissue disease, or other risk factors for ILD.

The patient’s chest CT scan showed bilateral, diffuse ground-glass opacities, consistent with ILD. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 vaccine-related ILD and was treated with high-dose corticosteroids. His symptoms and lung function improved over the next few weeks.

This case report highlights the importance of considering COVID-19 vaccine-related ILD as a rare but possible adverse event. The risk of ILD after COVID-19 vaccination is very low, but it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms so that it can be diagnosed and treated early.

The authors of the case report also note that the patient in their study had several risk factors for ILD, including his age and underlying medical conditions. They suggest that these risk factors may have contributed to his development of ILD.

Overall, the COVID-19 vaccines seem safe, but are not effective in preventing or spreading the COVID virus. The risk of ILD after vaccination is very low, but it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms so that it can be diagnosed and treated early. If you experience any unusual symptoms after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, be sure to talk to your doctor.

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