Concerns regarding the autoimmune safety of COVID-19 vaccines may negatively impact vaccine uptake. We aimed to describe the incidence of autoimmune conditions following BNT162b2 and CoronaVac vaccination and compare these with age-standardized incidence rates in non-vaccinated individuals.
This is a descriptive cohort study conducted in public healthcare service settings. Territory-wide longitudinal electronic medical records of Hong Kong Hospital Authority users (≥16 years) were linked with COVID-19 vaccination records between February 23, 2021 and June 30, 2021. We classified participants into first/second dose BNT162b2 groups, first/second dose CoronaVac groups and non-vaccinated individuals for incidence comparison. The study outcomes include hospitalized autoimmune diseases (16 types of immune-mediated diseases across six body systems) within 28 days after first and second dose of vaccination. Age-standardized incidence rate ratios (IRRs) with exact 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Poisson distribution.
This study included around 3.9 million Hong Kong residents, of which 1,122,793 received at least one dose of vaccine (BNT162b2: 579,998; CoronaVac: 542,795), and 721,588 completed two doses (BNT162b2: 388,881; CoronaVac: 332,707). Within 28 days following vaccination, cumulative incidences for all autoimmune conditions were below 9 per 100,000 persons, for both vaccines and both doses. None of the age-standardized incidence rates were significantly higher than the non-vaccinated individuals, except for an observed increased incidence of hypersomnia following the first dose of BNT162b2 (standardized IRR: 1.47; 95% CI: 1.10-1.94).
Autoimmune conditions requiring hospital care are rare following mRNA and inactivated COVID-19 vaccination with similar incidence to non-vaccinated individuals. The association between first dose BNT162b2 vaccination and immune-related sleeping disorders requires further research. Population-based robust safety surveillance is essential to detect rare and unexpected vaccine safety events.

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