Ever since the introduction of COVID-19 biologics in the U.S market, a significant proportion of vaccinated people have reported many adverse events following the shots. Approximately 1.5 million COVID shot injuries and deaths have been reported into the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).1 Cardiovascular adverse events have been common adverse events that have been reported by recipients. Hypertension has been prominent among these. There have been over 7,900 reported cases in VAERS of hypertension following COVID shots.2
There have been several COVID biologics developed around the world that use different technologies, including those that use live attenuated viruses or recombinant proteins, those that are inactivated, and those that are of the viral vector or replication-competent vector variety, as well as the DNA and mRNA variety. Despite these biologics having an efficacy of between 67 to 95 percent in clinical trials, there have been concerns regarding their safety.3
Although there was no signal of elevated blood pressure during the phase III clinical trials of the COVID biologics, an increase in blood pressure after receiving these shots has been reported in several studies.4 5 6 7
A 2022 systematic review of several studies published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease examined 357,387 subjects with 13,444 events of abnormal or increased blood pressure showed evidence of elevated blood pressure after COVID vaccination is not unusual. The proportion of patients with abnormal blood pressure or with a significant increase in blood pressure ranged from 0.93 to 23.72 percent. The estimate of stage III hypertension or hypertensive urgencies and emergencies following COVID vaccination was 0.6 percent.8
Study Showed Incidence of High Blood Pressure in Health Care Workers at Hospital in France
A 2022 study published The Journal of Human Hypertension in health care workers who received the Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty mRNA COVID biologic in a University Hospital in Toulouse, France.9 The aim of the study was to describe the course of blood pressure values after the first and the second injection of Comirnaty to assess the prevalence of high blood pressure values in this population.
Blood pressure was measured 15 minutes after the injection in all patients who received a first or a second injection. Hypertension was defined as blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg and grade III hypertension was declared if BP was greater than or equal to 180/111 mmHg. The results showed that 37 percent of subjects exhibited high blood pressure 15 minutes after the first dose and slightly less after the second dose. The researchers noted that the main limitation of this study was the lack of pre-vaccination control blood pressure values.10
Further Studies Needed to Investigate the Association Between COVID Shots and Hypertension
The precise biological mechanism of how COVID shots increase blood pressure is not fully understood, thus requiring further studies to understand the association. Researchers are calling for studies conducted on large case that include a baseline measurement of blood pressure in the days prior to and after the injections as well as what the average duration of the blood pressure increase is since anecdotal data shows that duration of the elevated blood pressure varies from a few days to a few weeks.11
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1 Zhang M. Slew of Unusual Adverse Events Becoming More Common After COVID Vaccine Rollout. The Epoch Times Nov. 27, 2022.
2 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) Results. Jan. 13, 2023.
3 Angeli F et al. Blood Pressure Increase following COVID-19 Vaccination: A Systematic Overview and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease 2022 May; 9(5): 150.
4 Angeli F, Spanevello A, Reboldi G, Visca D, Verdecchia P. SARS-CoV-2 vaccines: Lights and shadows. European Journal of Internal Medicine 2021; 88:1–8.
5 Angeli F, Reboldi G, Trapasso M, Verdecchia P. Hypertension after COVID-19 vaccination. Giornale Italiano di Cardiologia 2022; 23:10–14.
6 Meylan S, Livio F, Foerster M, Genoud P.J, Marguet F, Wuerzner G, Center C.C.V. Stage III Hypertension in Patients After mRNA-Based SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination. Hypertension 2021;77: e56–e57.
7 Zappa M, Verdecchia P, Spanevello A, Visca D, Angeli F. Blood pressure increase after Pfizer/BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. European Journal of Internal Medicine 2021;90:111–113.
8 Angeli F et al. Blood Pressure Increase following COVID-19 Vaccination: A Systematic Overview and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease 2022 May; 9(5): 150.
9 Bouhanick B, Brusq C, Bongard V, Tessier S, Montastruc J.L, Senard J.M, Montastruc F, Herin F. Blood pressure measurements after mRNA-SARS-CoV-2 tozinameran vaccination: A retrospective analysis in a university hospital in France. Journal of Human Hypertension 2022: 1–2.
11 Verdecchia P et al. Cardiac complications of COVID-19 vaccination: now we know more. European Heart Journal Supplements 2022; 24(1): I190–I196.