Reported orofacial adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines: The knowns and the unknowns

J Oral Pathol Med. 2021 Apr;50(4):424-427. doi: 10.1111/jop.13165. Epub 2021 Feb 19.


Introduction: Adverse events associated with vaccine administration can manifest in the oral cavity and orofacial region. Hence, the aim of this study was to compare the orofacial adverse effects of two recently authorised COVID-19 vaccines, namely BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273.

Methods: Publicly available data on BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 vaccines were accessed from the relevant regulatory authorities in the United States, Canada, European Union and United Kingdom. Both patient/recipient information and healthcare professional fact sheets for each of these drugs were manually searched to find their orofacial adverse effects.

Results: Adverse events affecting the orofacial region were reported for both vaccines. These were rare and included acute peripheral facial paralysis (Bell's palsy), facial swelling, and swelling of the lips, face or tongue associated with anaphylaxis. There was heterogeneity in the acknowledgement of vaccine-related adverse events in North America compared with Europe.

Conclusion: Globally, there are inconsistencies in the description of adverse effects presenting in the orofacial region of the COVID-19 vaccines BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273. We believe that awareness of these orofacial manifestations will improve recognition, management and reporting of vaccine-related adverse effects.

Keywords: BNT162b2; Bell's palsy; COVID-19; Vaccine; mRNA-1273; side effects.

MeSH terms

  • BNT162 Vaccine
  • COVID-19 Vaccines*
  • COVID-19*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United Kingdom
  • United States


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • BNT162 Vaccine