Background: the increasing number of COVID-19 vaccines available to the public may trigger hesitancy or selectivity towards vaccination. This study aimed to evaluate the post-vaccination side effects of the different vaccines approved in Germany; Methods: a cross-sectional survey-based study was carried out using an online questionnaire validated and tested for a priori reliability. The questionnaire inquired about demographic data, medical and COVID-19-related anamneses, and local, systemic, oral, and skin-related side effects following COVID-19 vaccination; Results: out of the 599 participating healthcare workers, 72.3% were females, and 79.1% received mRNA-based vaccines, while 20.9% received a viral vector-based vaccine. 88.1% of the participants reported at least one side effect. Injection site pain (75.6%) was the most common local side effect, and headache/fatigue (53.6%), muscle pain (33.2%), malaise (25%), chills (23%), and joint pain (21.2%) were the most common systemic side effects. The vast majority (84.9%) of side effects resolved within 1–3 days post-vaccination; Conclusions: the mRNA-based vaccines were associated with a higher prevalence of local side effects (78.3% vs. 70.4%; Sig.
= 0.064), while the viral vector-based vaccine was associated with a higher prevalence of systemic side effects (87.2% vs. 61%; Sig.
< 0.001). Females and the younger age group were associated with an increased risk of side effects either after mRNA-based or viral vector-based vaccines. The gender- and age-based differences warrant further rigorous investigation and standardized methodology.
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