Alopecia Areata Flares More common after Second Dose of Vaccines — Donovan Hair Clinic
Nguyen and Tosti recently set out to evaluate how alopecia areata is influenced by COVID infection and COVID vaccines. The authors sent a survey to members of “Alopecia Areata, find a cure” on social media. Individuals were eligible to participate in completion of a survey if they had been diagnosed with AA and tested positive for COVID-19 or received at least one COVID-19 vaccination. In total, 131 of 214 members (61.2%) completed the questionnaire.
Respondents with Prior COVID Positive Results.
Of 59 respondents who tested positive for COVID-19, 25 (42.4%) reported AA symptoms after infection: 60.0% (15/25) had a new diagnosis of AA, and 36.0% (9/25) experienced relapse of pre-existing AA.
Respondents with Prior COVID Vaccination.
Of 113 respondents who received at least one COVID-19 vaccination, 77 (68.1%) reported AA symptoms after vaccination: 50.6% (39/77) had a new diagnosis of AA, and 49.4% (38/77) experienced relapse of pre-existing AA. Vaccines included Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca
It was noted that more patients developed symptoms of AA after the second COVID-19 vaccination (25/47, 53.2%) than the first vaccination (12/47, 25.5%) or third vaccination (10/47, 21.3%). On average, symptoms of AA occurred 50.6 days (7 weeks) after COVID-19 infection and 61.5 days (8 weeks) after COVID-19 vaccination.
All in all, this study supports the notion that both vaccination and COVID infection can precipitate and flare alopecia areata. It’s not possible to calculate true incidence from this study but it is interesting that such a large proportion of patients had flares or new onset disease with vaccination or infection. More studies are needed to better understand the true incidence.
Nguyen B and Tosti A. Alopecia areata after COVID-19 . J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2022 Aug 11;10.1111/jdv.18491.