COVID-19 vaccines and people with epilepsy
Vaccines against COVID19 are currently being approved and becoming available.
There is currently no evidence to suggest that having epilepsy is specifically associated with a higher risk of side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine. For people with epilepsy, the risk of COVID-19 infection and potential complications far outweighs the risk of side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine. As with other vaccines however, a fever can develop after a COVID-19 vaccination. This could lower the seizure threshold in some people. Antipyretics (e.g. paracetamol/acetaminophen) taken regularly for 48 hours after the vaccination (or for the duration of fever) will minimize this risk.
Before you receive a COVID-19 vaccine, make sure to let your vaccination provider know that you have epilepsy, as well as any other important medical information, such as:
- Allergies, especially an allergy to any ingredient in the vaccine
- Allergic reactions to prior vaccines (e.g. flu vaccine)
- Current or recent fever or infection
- All medications you are taking, especially medications that suppress the immune system (e.g. immunomodulatory or immunosuppressive medicines) or anticoagulants.
- If you are pregnant or nursing, or plan to become pregnant
As with any vaccine, you should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. You should not receive a second dose if you had an allergic reaction to the first dose.
If you already received the COVID-19 vaccine, it is important to continue wearing a mask and social distance. The current vaccines reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 infection by up to 90%, depending on the vaccine, but vaccinated people may still be able to spread COVID-19 to others without knowing they are carrying it.
COVID -19 Vaccine Q&A (Epilepsy Foundation)
COVID-19 Vaccination (Epilepsy Foundation)
Epilepsy Society’s Medical Director reassures people with epilepsy over Covid-19 vaccine (Epilepsy Society UK)
COVID-19 Vaccine and Epilepsy (Living Well with Epilepsy)
11 January 2021
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