Updated 5 July 2021

We know that some of you have concerns about whether the vaccines to protect us against the Covid pandemic are safe for thyroid patients. Below we answer your common questions.

Will I be a priority for receiving a Covid-19 vaccine because I have a thyroid disorder?

The UK government is rolling out its vaccination programme to the most vulnerable first, starting with care home residents and staff. This is being followed by hospital staff and the very elderly with the under 50s being in the least priority group. Having a thyroid disorder in itself does not put you in a high priority group for the vaccination. Having an autoimmune thyroid disorder does not mean you are immunocompromised. The part of the immune system that's responsible for autoimmune thyroid disease is separate to the immune system that's responsible for fighting off infections, such as Covid-19.

If you are on immunosuppressive drugs, including steroids for thyroid eye disease, this puts you in a higher risk category and you may be offered it before other groups. Similarly, if you are undergoing treatment with multi-kinase inhibitors (such as Lenvatinib or Sorafenib) or chemotherapy for thyroid cancer you would be in a higher risk category and may be offered the vaccine sooner. Your oncology team can provide further advice. More details on JCVI priority groups for Covid vaccine 

Is it safe for me to have the vaccine?

Like all vaccines, the Covid-19 vaccines are subject to rigorous testing from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This body has given its approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines to be rolled out in the UK. Clinical trials and vaccines have been carried out on thousands of patients and reports of serious side effects i.e. allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported.  As with other vaccination programmes, there is no known reason why someone with a thyroid disorder should not have the vaccine. Since thyroid disorders are common it is certain that the clinical trials have included patients with thyroid diseases and no significant adverse effects have been observed. We await the full publication of the trial results to find out in detail about the patients with thyroid disorders that have been studied in these trials.

Will the vaccine make me ill?

The Covid-19 vaccines are not live vaccines i.e. do not contain any of the Covid-19 virus. Some people will suffer mild symptoms, such as muscle aches or a slightly raised temperature following vaccinations. This is the body's response to the vaccine and is not caused by the disease itself. If you are concerned about allergies, you can find a full list of any ingredients in any approved vaccine here Browse medicines starting with A - (emc)

Is there an increased risk to me from the AstraZeneca vaccine?

There have been reports of an extremely rare side effect of thrombosis (blood clots) and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) following vaccination with the first dose of AstraZeneca. Even though there have only been a very small number of these events the available information does suggest they may be more likely to happen in the younger adult age groups and tends to occur between four days and four weeks after vaccination. Although this condition remains extremely rare there is a higher risk in people after the first dose of the AZ vaccine

The Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that it is preferable for adults aged less than 40 years and/or pregnant, without underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe Covid-19, to be offered an alternative Covid-19 vaccine (Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine).  

If this applies to you, you'll only be shown appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine when you book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online

If you book through your GP surgery, tell them if you're pregnant or under 40.

Can I get a different brand of vaccine for my second dose?

Reports to date are of the extremely rare thrombosis/thrombocytopenia events occurring solely after the first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. The official advice is that anyone who has received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, should be offered a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, irrespective of age. It is important to receive the second dose of the vaccine as this increases protection against Covid-19.  

Initial results from a trial of mix and match vaccines (using different brands for the first and second dose) suggest they offer good protection against Covid-19. However, as trials are still ongoing, the same brand vaccine will continue to be offered for the first and second doses.

More information can be found at:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine - NHS (www.nhs.uk) 

Why vaccination is safe and important - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Covid vaccines: Who decides if they are safe? - BBC News

Book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online

Information on the Covid vaccine for over 18s 

Covid vaccination and blood clotting (GOV.UK)

JCVI: statement on the use of the AstraZeneca Covid 19 vaccine

JCVI priority groups for Covid vaccine 

Society for Endocrinology Statement on COVID-19 vaccines: Information for patients with endocrine conditions and diabetes mellitus

European Thyroid Association: Vaccination and Thyroid Disease (3.03.2021)

JCVI: statement on the use of the AstraZeneca Covid 19 vaccine (7.04.2021)