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In the past months, mass vaccination represented the turning point of the global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented challenge for physicians, healthcare professionals, health systems and pharmaceutical companies. More than 6 billion doses of vaccine have been administered to date, covering nearly 50% of the world’s population. Although the vaccination campaign is still thwarted by spread of fake news disseminated by a ubiquitous antivaxxer movement, accumulating real-life data1 confirm the favourable safety profile already demonstrated in phase III clinical trials.2
Despite the lack of a steady literature evidence,3 the potential role of vaccines in promoting autoimmunity continues to intrigue many researchers. The theoretical basis of this association relies on the possible molecular mimicry between macromolecular components of the vaccine and specific human proteins and the exuberant immune response elicited by adjuvants contained in vaccines.4
Adverse events (AEs) associated with COVID-19 vaccines are usually mild and mainly restricted to injection site reactions. Interestingly, among systemic AEs, arthralgia is one of the most common.2 To the best of our knowledge, only isolated cases5 of arthritis developed after COVID-19 …
Handling editor Josef S Smolen
Contributors FU and CF designed the study, analysed the results and prepared the first draft of the letter. All the other authors contributed to the data collection and critical revision of the draft.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, conduct, reporting or dissemination plans of this research.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.