Neurological side effects of SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations

Acta Neurol Scand. 2022 Jan;145(1):5-9. doi: 10.1111/ane.13550. Epub 2021 Nov 8.


SARS-CoV-2 and adverse reactions to SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations show a tropism for neuronal structures and tissues. This narrative review was conducted to collect and discuss published data about neurological side effects of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in order to discover type, frequency, treatment, and outcome of these side effects. The most frequent neurological side effects of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are headache, Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), venous sinus thrombosis (VST), and transverse myelitis. Other neurological side effects occur in a much lower frequency. Neurological side effects occur with any of the approved vaccines but VST particularly occurs after vaccination with vector-based vaccines. Treatment of these side effects is not at variance from similar conditions due to other causes. The worst outcome of these side effects is associated with VST, why it should not be missed and treated appropriately in due time. In conclusion, safety concerns against SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are backed by an increasing number of studies reporting neurological side effects. The most frequent of them are headache, GBS, VST, and transverse myelitis. Healthcare professionals, particularly neurologists involved in the management of patients having undergone SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations, should be aware of these side effects and should stay vigilant to recognize them early and treat them adequately.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; adverse reaction; neuropathy; side effect; vaccination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome* / etiology
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccination / adverse effects


  • COVID-19 Vaccines