Is the COVID Vaccine Safe for Thyroid Patients?

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I’m receiving messages daily that ask me:

  • Should thyroid patients get the COVID vaccine?
  • Is the COVID vaccine safe for thyroid patients?
  • Will the COVID vaccine worsen thyroid health / cause a flare up in symptoms?

The answer? Let’s take a look at the information we currently have.

(Please note the date this article was published, above. As new information about COVID-19 is constantly coming out, this article may become out of date)

Vaccinations are always a controversial topic and among the thyroid community, the COVID vaccine is no exception. 

Should thyroid patients get the covid vaccine

Concerns About The Vaccine

For many people, they naturally hold concerns that the vaccine is ‘just too new’, hasn’t been tested on a large amount of people with autoimmune conditions (such as Hashimoto’s and Grave’s Disease) and may make those with health conditions such as thyroid disease unwell.

As always, please speak directly with your doctor about whether they believe you’re an at-risk person for complications of COVID-19 or any vaccine, as your own personal situation could determine you a priority for the vaccine.

I’m not going to get in to the debate about the general controversy surrounding various vaccines, for which many people have strong views for and against, but instead, just look at the COVID vaccine in relation to thyroid disease.

I am not going to tell you whether or not you should get the vaccine, as I couldn’t possibly make that decision for you. Instead I’m hoping to give you the information you need to help you make a well-informed decision yourself.

Autoimmune Disease Concerns 

For most of us with hypothyroidism, we have the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s to thank. Around 90% of us have Hashimoto’s as the culprit causing hypothyroidism [1] and many thyroid patients are concerned about the possibly of the COVID vaccine making their autoimmune thyroid disease worse.

Asking whether or not you should get the vaccine as an autoimmune disease patient is a reasonable question, given that the vaccine interacts with your immune system which is already functioning a little oddly.

However, there is no known issue with thyroid patients receiving this vaccine.

There are no studies that show the COVID vaccine directly affecting thyroid health and function, but equally, there aren’t studies solidifying that it is completely safe for thyroid patients either. The fact is, it’s just too early on to have this data yet.

We do know that it affects the immune system though, as the very point of the vaccine is to have the body produce antibodies against the virus. This isn’t ‘natural’ as such and enough research hasn’t been conducted in to it to know the possible outcomes, but for those with autoimmune conditions, it’s not unreasonable to question how these can be affected.

People with thyroid conditions were included in the COVID vaccine trials and, as of yet, researchers have not shared any data regarding adverse effects in patients with thyroid disease.

Interestingly though, there’s some scientific evidence that certain vaccines (though not necessarily the COVID vaccine) may actually help prevent the manifestation of autoimmune diseases, by altering a person’s immune system in such a way that it is protective. [2]

At present, there is no established scientific data showing that those with thyroid disease are at any extra risk from the COVID vaccine.

A Note on ‘Being Immunocompromised’

Many people with autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s and Grave’s Disease, become confused about whether they are ‘immunocompromised’.

According to the American Thyroid Association, “Having autoimmune thyroid disease does not mean that a person is immunocompromised.” [3]

People who fall in to the immunocompromised category include:

  • those on chemotherapy treatment
  • those with a disease which causes immunodeficiency, such as HIV
  • those being treated for certain autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis or lupus

If you fall in to the ‘immunocompromised’ category, please make the decision of whether to get the vaccine with your doctor. You may have more considerations to keep in mind.

Who is The Vaccine Available To?

This really depends on the country in which you live in. Here in the UK, the vaccine is being given to the most vulnerable first, including the oldest members of society and those with serious underlying health conditions. Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s are currently not included in this.

However, the government is hoping to vaccinate most adults by the end of 2021. So although you may not be offered a COVID vaccine early 2021, you will likely have been offered one later in the year.

If you have any allergies, please discuss whether these affect getting the COVID vaccine with your doctor.

Weighing it up

Weighing up the chances of:

A) getting the COVID vaccine and it flaring up your thyroid condition

with

B) not having the vaccine and getting ill (possibly very ill) from the virus and this flaring up your thyroid condition, isn’t easy.

We may feel as if our choice is between going without the vaccination and risking catching COVID-19 and it making us very ill, with having the vaccine and that worsening our health instead. It’s a bit of a double edged sword and no one can say for sure what your reaction (if any) will be until the vaccine is given.

Experts tend to agree, however, that the risk of a potentially deadly virus like COVID-19 outweighs the risk of a thyroid flare, so this is worth keeping in mind.

Whether you decide that the COVID vaccine is for you or not, remember that the best way to avoid contracting any illness is with good hygiene and ample amounts of certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients in your diet. Bone brothsVitamin C, D, Zinc and Selenium all support the immune system, as does a well-balanced and nutrient dense diet.

Washing your hands frequently, wearing a face covering/mask, using hand sanitiser, exercising regularly, maintaining a good sleep routine and keeping stress levels low also all help to avoid coming down with illness.

For more information on looking after your thyroid health in the winter, check out this article.

Related Post: Why I’m Getting The COVID Vaccine as a Thyroid Patient and Future Naturopathic Doctor

Will you get the vaccine? Feel free to share in the comments below but please be respectful of other peoples’ opinions too.

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.

References:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3066320

[2] https://www.verywellhealth.com/do-thyroid-patients-need-a-flu-shot-3233145

[3] https://www.thyroid.org/covid-19/coronavirus-frequently-asked-questions/#hypothyroidism



If you found this article beneficial, please take a moment to share it so we can help others get better with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's, whilst also raising awareness.

24 thoughts on “Is the COVID Vaccine Safe for Thyroid Patients?

  1. Hi! I have have Hashimotos which I’m managing pretty well at the moment but suffered terribly from for years in terms of depression, brain fog, weight gain, extreme fatigue, lethargy, etc. I contracted Covid last November, but didn’t have any symptoms bar sore sinuses for a day, and it didn’t effect me in terms of my symptoms. I’m not anti-vax but since I’ve had covid and I know it’s effects on me, I am waiting longer until there is more evidence of the effect of vaccine on auto immune diseases before I take it. I don’t ever want to go back to how I was before, I would rather get covid again to be honest…

  2. I have hashimoto disease and asthma. I have both shots of Pfizer. I had side effects after the 1st shot for 3 days, the fatigue and headaches were not fun but better than having COVID. The second shot I had arm pain but no other side effects.
    My Dad has hypothyroidism and no side effects with moderna – both shots. I feel grateful to receive the vaccine and I personally felt it was worth it.

  3. I received both shots of Pfizer. I have Hashimoto Disease and asthma. The 1st shot I had side effects that are described could happen-fatigue, aches, headaches and nausea. They lasted 3 days the

  4. I am 35 years old and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism last year. I doubt it to get the vaccine first and talked with my GP and a nurse wether to take or not take the vaccine and they said Yes go get it. So I got my first Moderna shot and second dose is in two weeks. I am traveling overseas so thought its better to get it. Although one of my friends who even doesn’t have hypothyroidism but trying to get pregnant is not getting the vaccine because she is unsure of it. Just wanted to share my experience.

  5. My name is Pamela I had my thyroid removed over 20 yrs ago..I do take synthroid since then…in dec I caught covid and I had it really bad..thanks to plasma transfusion it saved my life…BUT…since having covid I have had alot of thyroid symptom..low temps ,hair falling out , I can not concentrate ,I forget alot, im sooo tired and drained, I dont have an appetite, I forget everything, I’ve even known my balance to be off, and my thoughts seem all over the place and foggy, I feel like getting sick from my anxiety being so strong, I can not concentrate, I feel like my heart is pounding and beating fast all of the time, I feel at times I cant catch my breath and I cry alot, NO I MEAN ALOT, over stupid little things like I see a cute dog on TV and I cry…now since covid they said they tested my thyroid while in the hospital…but after having covid and recovering its now may im still having these issues so my blood test will be done Monday and I will reveal the results…but im sure thyroid meds are way low…in 20 yrs I never had to adjust my thyroid meds..after covid thats the one thing u wanna do for a few months or if ur having symptoms of any kind see ur dr..I have NOT HAD THE VACCINE…im scared to…I seen what having covid did to me im concerned what the vaccine will do to me..there are no reports of ir affecting ur thyroid with the vaccine but they didn’t say having covid would affect ur thyroid and I dont believe there’s enough information for anyone to make any decisions until u speak with ur dr…my opinion is…there is not proof or data that can tell me if the vaccine will or will not affect my thyroid..I will be back to let everyone know the results

  6. I had the oxford vaccine just over a week ago, no problems at all, no side effects not even a sore arm, very pleased I have had it and look forward to the second one in around 12 weeks

  7. I have had hypothyroidism for nearly 26 years, recently it has been well controlled with thyroxine. I had the Covid vaccine (Oxford) this week as I work in a special needs school, I chose to have it because my anxieties around catching Covid are so high that I have been unable to work. After the vaccine, I’ve had flu-like symptoms, aching muscles, cold, muggy head, headache, and no energy for 2 days as well as a sore arm but I’m getting better again. I’m glad I had it, the benefits outweigh the side effects.

    1. I had my thyroid removed over 20 yrs ago..I do take synthroid since then…in dec I caught covid and I had it really bad..thanks to plasma transfusion it saved my life…BUT…since having covid I have had alot of thyroid symptom..low temps ,hair falling out , I can not concentrate ,I forget alot, im sooo tired and drained, I dont have an appetite, I forget everything, I’ve even known my balance to be off, and my thoughts seem all over the place and foggy, I feel like getting sick from my anxiety being so strong, I can not concentrate, I feel like my heart is pounding and beating fast all of the time, I feel at times I cant catch my breath and I cry alot, NO I MEAN ALOT, over stupid little things like I see a cute dog on TV and I cry…now since covid they said they tested my thyroid while in the hospital…but after having covid and recovering its now may im still having these issues so my blood test will be done Monday and I will reveal the results…but im sure thyroid meds are way low…in 20 yrs I never had to adjust my thyroid meds..after covid thats the one thing u wanna do for a few months or if ur having symptoms of any kind see ur dr..I have NOT HAD THE VACCINE…im scared to…I seen what having covid did to me im concerned what the vaccine will do to me..there are no reports of ir affecting ur thyroid with the vaccine but they didn’t say having covid would affect ur thyroid and I dont believe there’s enough information for anyone to make any decisions until u speak with ur dr…my opinion is…there is not proof or data that can tell me if the vaccine will or will not affect my thyroid..I will be back to let everyone know the results

  8. I was happily adjusted on LT4 for 18 years. Then I had a root canal & my first & only seasonal flu jab. Within six months, I became terribly out of whack. I’m still not eythyroid on T3 monotherapy & CT3M for cortisol almost three years later. No other changes, so which was it that threw me under the bus? I’m leaning toward blaming the dental work & getting the Covid jab. Here in Thailand, that likely won’t be within 2021. I won’t be getting another seasonal flu jab anyway!

  9. Have discovered I may have an acacia allergy and will be asking for the Oxford vaccine. Phizer and Moderna all have Polyethylene Glycol PEG in them which was also in Zyban, which I took trying to give up smoking. After much research, I have discovered PEG could be associated with acacia. I had no problem with the recent flu vaccine which has polysorbate 20 in it and the Oxford Astra-zenica has Polysorbate 80 so should be fine. Everyone should have a Covid vaccine even if they are worried!

  10. I had a total thyroidectomy in 2012 and take Levothyroxine. Due to being classed as a critical care worker I received my first dose of the Astra Zenica vaccine on 13/01/21. I had no side effects from the vaccine and my arm wasn’t particularly sore. I suffered no effect thyroxine wise from the vaccine and my levels have remained stable. There was no doubt in my mind that I would have the vaccine and I’m glad I did as I myself tested positive for Covid 19 on 22/01/21 and now at home self isolating. Knowing that I have got a little protection against this virus is making me feel calmer whilst I work my way through the symptoms, which so far have been mild compared to a lot of people fighting this.

  11. Hi Rachel, I was diagnosed with Hashimotos a couple of years ago and have been thinking a lot about whether I should get the vaccination. I live in Northern Ireland and as I am a carer for my son who has special needs I will be offered the vaccination a bit earlier that the rest of the population. I’ve decided that I will get the jab because I feel the risk is worth it. I am keeping myself as fit and well as I can at the moment so that my health and immune system are as strong as they can be before the the vaccination. The truth is I just can’t take the risk of falling ill with Covid. I have 2 young children to look after and I don’t want to spend any more of my life worrying about catching this awful virus. If the vaccine helps things to get back to some kind of normality then I’m willing to take the chance x

  12. I have hashimoto disease but apart from that I am healthy. I eat a low carb diet and take my vitamins and minerals daily. If I had covid it didn’t affect me, perhaps as I’ve taken 2500iu vitamin d for several years and do not have any other comorbidities associated with a higher risk of catching covid. I won’t be having the vaccine as I do not think in my case it will benefit me. Await to see how this trial of the first mRNA gene therapy “vaccine” works out.

  13. I will be having the covid vaccine. I have asthma and get the flu jab yearly. 4 years ago I was ill with pneumonia and never want to feel so ill again. My GP advised me to have the Pneumonia vaccine even though I was not in the age bracket for this, which I did and since then have not had any winter illnesses. I am also a front line worker and so for me to have the vaccination is a no brainer.

  14. Hi Rachel, I’m on synthroid & have hypo active thyroid. It’s regulated with the medicine. I’m extremely nervous to get the Covid vaccine. Not because of my thyroid, just in general. I’m not anti-vaccine but on the border. I have never gotten the flu shot. I’m 61 yrs old. My Dr basically told me I will be fine to get the shot. I feel like it came out so fast, there have been related deaths possibly from the shot. Sooo with all that rushing thru my brain, I’m leaning on possibly not getting it. Help,what’s your thoughts? Also I thought maybe waiting another 5 or 6 months to wait & hear more feedback. Thank you for taking the time to read this
    Mary

  15. I have hypothyroidism. I also had Covid 19 in December. I just thought I had a cold. Anyway, ended up in ER for another issue and they found glassy looking spots in my lungs which can lead to pneumonia. I breathed into a spiralmeter and was fine. I don’t plan to get a vaccine. I don’t get flu shots either.

  16. I am a middle school teacher in the U.S., and was very skeptical about receiving the vaccine at first. After some thought, reading and talking with my functional medicine doctor I decided to take the vaccine. I have had the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and go for my second one next week. Besides a sore arm, I have felt just fine. No signs of a flare. My levels are quite optimal right now, so I am sure that helps. I take the flu shot most years, and I have received the pneumonia vaccine after suffering with walking pneumonia for several months a few years ago. I don’t want to go through that again, the antibiotics and steroids to treat that really did a number on my thyroid well-being. I feel like I need to prevent getting the sicknesses that wipe me out, because I don’t recover as quickly as people who do not suffer from hypothyroidism. It’s a tough decision to make, but I feel good with the decision I made.

  17. Hello Rachel, I have been following you on Instagram for quite a while. Just this article of yours popped up whilst I’m sitting in a waiting room after my vaccination. I have hypothyroidism. Been diagnosed at age 13. Since then I’m on levothyroxine. Last night I called doctor and she couldn’t answer my questions whether its good or bad. Just GP here is taking care of hypothyroidism which is for me absolutely mental. Unfortunately this doctor apparently didn’t even know what Selenium is. Its very sad. Nobody has answers and these are very scary times.

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