Acute Pancreatitis: A Possible Side Effect of COVID-19 Vaccine

Cureus. 2021 Apr 28;13(4):e14741. doi: 10.7759/cureus.14741.


For the first time, the mRNA technology was utilized to produce a vaccine against COVID-19 after the unprecedented pandemic equally affected every part of the world. Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) mRNA vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2020. EUA has been widely discussed in the medical literature and the general public. The safety of the BNT162b2 vaccine has been investigated in short-term trials with data available for three months. We present a case of a 96-year-old female with a past surgical history of cholecystectomy who presented with acute onset severe abdominal pain a few days after getting the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. She was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis with a lipase level of 4036 U/L. Extensive history and investigations were unable to find any etiology. The patient was conservatively managed and discharged home without any complications. There has been some data available in medical literature showing an association between acute pancreatitis and COVID-19 infection. Trial data of Pfizer COVID-19 also shows one case of acute pancreatitis in the treatment group. There have also been individual cases of unexplained acute pancreatitis shared by medical professionals on online forums. Our main goal to write this case is to make medical literature aware of possible emerging side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, one of such side effects being self-resolving uncomplicated acute pancreatitis.

Keywords: acute pancreatitis; bnt162b2 mrna; covid-19; pfizer-biontech.

Publication types

  • Case Reports