Autoimmune adverse event following COVID-19 vaccination in Seoul, South Korea

Hong Jin Kim, Min Ho Kim, Seong Jun Park, Myeong Geun Choi, Eun Mi Chun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is growing evidence that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination can affect the regulation of the immune system, leading to the development of autoimmune diseases. However, the autoimmune adverse events (AEs) after COVID-19 vaccination remain largely unclear. Objective: We sought to investigate the autoimmune AEs after COVID-19 vaccination from a population-based cohort in South Korea. Methods: A total of 4,203,887 participants, representing 50% of the population residing in Seoul, were recruited from the National Health Insurance Service database and then divided into 2 groups on the basis of COVID-19 vaccination. The cumulative incidence, hazard ratios (HRs), and 95% CIs of autoimmune AEs were assessed following COVID-19 vaccination. Results: The incidence of vitiligo has been observed to be significantly higher in the vaccination group compared with the no vaccination group. The cumulative incidence of vitiligo began to show a significant difference starting 2 weeks after vaccination, and it reached 2.2% in the vaccination group and 0.6% in the no vaccination group by 3 months after COVID-19 vaccination. Vitiligo (HR, 2.714; 95% CI, 1.777-4.146) was an increased risk among autoimmune AEs. Furthermore, the risk of vitiligo was the highest for heterologous vaccination (HR, 3.890; 95% CI, 2.303-6.573) compared with using cDNA vaccine (HR, 2.861; 95% CI, 1.838-4.453) or mRNA vaccine (HR, 2.475; 95% CI, 1.607-3.813). Conclusions: Vitiligo as an autoimmune AE was noted to be substantially higher in the COVID-19–vaccinated group compared with the controls. Therefore, the occurrence of vitiligo could be considered as one of the significant AEs post–COVID-19 vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1711-1720
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2024 The Authors


  • COVID-19
  • autoimmune adverse events
  • complications
  • vaccination
  • vitiligo


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