Purpose: To perform a systematic review on published cases of subacute thyroiditis (SAT) secondary to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, to highlight main features and increase the awareness of this condition.
Methods: Original reports of SAT developed after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination (mRNA, viral vector, or inactivated virus vaccines) were retrieved from a search of electronic databases. Individual patient data on demographics, medical history, type of vaccine, workup and therapies were collected. Wilcoxon rank-sum, Kruskal-Wallis and chi-squared tests were employed for comparisons.
Results: 30 articles including 48 reports were retrieved, 3 additional cases evaluated by the Authors were described and included for analysis. Of the 51 patients, 38 (74.5%) were women, median age was 39.5 years (IQR 34-47). Patients developed SAT after a median of 10 days (IQR 4-14) after the vaccine shot. Baseline thyroid exams revealed thyrotoxicosis in 88.2% of patients, decreasing at 31.6% at follow-up. Corticosteroids were used in 56.4% of treated patients. Patients undergoing non-mRNA vaccines were most frequently Asian (p = 0.019) and reported more frequently weight loss (p = 0.021). All patients with a previous diagnosis of thyroid disease belonged to the mRNA vaccine group.
Conclusion: SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-associated SAT is a novel entity that should be acknowledged by physicians. Previous history of thyroid disease may predispose to develop SAT after mRNA vaccines, but further studies and larger cohorts are needed to verify this suggestion. SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-associated SAT is usually of mild/moderate severity and could be easily treated in most cases, thus it should not raise any concern regarding the need to be vaccinated.
Keywords: Adjuvants; SARS-CoV-2; Subacute thyroiditis; Thyroid; Vaccine.
© 2022. The Author(s).