Is the flu vaccination safe for people with thyroid disorders?

The flu vaccination programme is very well thought through and we are fortunate in the UK to live in a part of the world where vaccinations are freely available.

Having a thyroid disorder (whether it is an autoimmune disease or not) is not generally considered to give you an increased risk of developing seasonal flu compared to any other member of the general population. You are unlikely to be offered the free flu vaccine unless you fall within one or more of the following categories who are at greater risk of complications from the flu. More information about who is eligible for the free seasonal flu vaccine in your region is available at:

    NHS England

    Public Health Scotland

    NHS Wales

    Health and Social Care Northern Ireland

    HPV vaccine 

    Teenage girls are now routinely offered the HPV vaccine which protects women against developing cervical cancer. There is no reason why a girl who has been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder should not be given this important vaccination.

    Does having a thyroid disorder make me a priority for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine? 

    Having a thyroid disorder does not normally put you in a higher priority group for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

    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. 

    You can find more details at Book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online

    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.

    More information can be found at:

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine - NHS ( 

    Why vaccination is safe and important - NHS (

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

    Book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online

    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)

    Updated May 2023

    If you have any particular concerns about your vaccinations you should always discuss these with your doctor.

    More information on living with thyroid disorders is available here. Many patients also find our network of volunteer telephone contacts and local support groups a valuable resource.

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