Reports of headaches after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine have been common. While most are nonserious and treatable, researchers in Iran who conducted a new study published in Frontiers in Neurology warn that delayed headache onset “should be considered a red flag.”
According to a survey of nearly 2,000, primarily female respondents, the prevalence of headaches after the first, second, or third vaccine doses was 36.5 percent, 23.3 percent, and 21.7 percent, respectively.
Some people are at high risk of postvaccination headaches, including people with primary headaches, post-COVID-19 headaches, headaches following a previous dose, postvaccination fever, and those who received vector vaccines (such as AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines), according to the researchers.
Researchers also highlighted the differences in characteristics of people who reported headaches after an infection versus a vaccination.
Among people with post-COVID infection headaches, 59 percent were migraine-like, and 31.4 percent were tension-type headaches.
Tension-type headaches were more prevalent for people with postvaccination headaches than migraine-like headaches. Participants’ headaches were mainly bilateral, moderate, and pressing, affecting the entire head or multiple regions.