Liver Injury after COVID-19 Vaccine: Putting a Case Report into Perspective

Updated: Mar 25

By the Autoimmune Hepatitis Association




As we have shared this past year, very rare cases of autoimmune-like liver injury after COVID-19 vaccine have been reported in the scientific literature.


Recently, one of our members sent us this link. She said, "I am hoping to gain insight on the validity of this study. My daughter has AIH and is vaccinated, but this seems both scary and intriguing if it is legitimate.” The published scientific article can be found here.


We want to highlight and clarify a few key points that still support the widespread use of mRNA vaccines.


1. This is not a study per se, but a single rare case report of a patient developing immune-mediated liver injury after a first and a second Moderna vaccine. This reaction looked like autoimmune hepatitis per labs and the liver biopsy.


2. This is one of less than 10 cases reported in the literature to date. So far, in the US, over 500 million doses of mRNA vaccines have been given. Worldwide, 9.8 billion COVID vaccines have been given, a substantial portion with mRNA technology.


3. This paper reports an autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) reaction in a patient without prior AIH diagnosis. It does not necessarily establish risk of “flare” (increasing liver tests) in patients with AIH that get an mRNA vaccine. There is one case published to our knowledge, but the case involves a patient who likely had undiagnosed AIH prior getting vaccinated.


4. There are other vaccines that have very rarely been associated with AIH development.


5. Reassuringly, despite onset of AIH in published cases after mRNA vaccines, all patients seem to respond well to immunosuppression.


The AIHA stands with medical professionals in supporting widespread vaccination campaigns to minimize infections, transmissions, and severe outcomes of patients with the novel coronavirus. Please check with your doctor if you have any questions about whether you should be vaccinated.



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