Q: Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have epilepsy?
A: Every person should talk to their GP and/or neurologist about their concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. As every person’s circumstances are unique it’s important to seek professional advice before making an informed decision. The Australian Government Department of Health – Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccines can be a great starting point if you want to learn more.
You can also stay up to date by subscribing to the Australian Government – Department of Health ’Vaccines Updates’.
Q: Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with epilepsy?
A: There is currently no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine is not safe for a person with epilepsy. However, it is common for a person with or without epilepsy to experience side effects such as soreness to the local (injected) area, fatigue, and headaches. For more information speak to your GP about your concerns about any potential side effects.
You can also access information about the COVID-19 vaccines from the Australian Government Department of Health – COVID-19 Vaccine Safety and Side Effects.
In addition, The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) indicates that ‘’there is currently no evidence to suggest that having epilepsy is specifically associated with a higher risk of side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine’’.
Q: Can COVID-19 vaccines provoke seizures in people with epilepsy?
A: To date, data suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people with epilepsy. It’s important to remember that the data on COVID-19 vaccines are constantly being updated. For more information about the effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccines, and any possible impact of the person’s individual triggers, speak to your GP and/or neurologist. You can also access more information about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines here.
Q: Will the COVD-19 vaccine impact or interfere with my anti-seizure medication (ASM)?
A: This is a difficult question to answer, that is why it is important to speak to your GP and/or neurologist as they know your medical history as well as details about your ASM’s.
Q: Should I discuss getting the COVID-19 vaccine with my treating neurologist, specialist, or family GP?
A: Yes! All decisions about the COVID-19 vaccine should be done with your GP and neurologist. We strongly suggest speaking to them before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Q: Should children aged under 18 with epilepsy get the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Anyone 12 years and over can now book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. You can learn more about the vaccine rollout, COVID-19 vaccines and get vaccinated here. Parents/guardians should speak to their GP about any concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Q: Where can I book and get the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Vaccinations are now readily available in the community.You could check with your GP or Pharmacist to see if they are a provider for vaccinations. Otherwise you can find a clinic near you and book a vaccination appointment from the Vaccine Clinic Finder – Australian Government Department of Health.
Q: What COVID-19 vaccine will I be eligible for if I have epilepsy?
A: There are currently 3 COVID-19 vaccines in the Australian national rollout:
- Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)
- Comirnaty (Pfizer)
- Spikevax (Moderna)
If you have epilepsy please speak to your GP about what COVID-19 vaccine you are suitable for, otherwise, more information about each vaccine can be found here.
Q: Is there anything I should tell the vaccination provider before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?
A: The ILAE suggests that before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, make sure to let your vaccination provider know that you have epilepsy, as well as any other important health-related information. These may include:
- Allergies, especially to an allergy to any ingredient in the vaccine
- If you’ve currently had or had a fever or infection
- Anti-epilepsy drug (AEDs) history Replace with Anti-seizure medications (ASMs) as per earlier reference to ASM
- If you are pregnant
- Any other health-related conditions (e.g. respiratory issues, high blood pressure, obesity)