Fourth Dose of COVID Vaccine Produced Milder Symptoms In Patients With IBD


Data presented at Digestive Disease Week show that patients with IBD had less intense post-vaccination symptoms after a fourth dose.

Adverse events associated with COVID-19 vaccination are not uncommon, and can linger for a few days. Data have shown that those symptoms are likely to decrease and lessen in severity after a second booster shoot, and a study1 presented at Digestive Disease Week, held May 6 to 9 in Chicago, examined the response of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) after receiving their fourth dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

In September of 2022, it was reported that a fourth dose of the vaccine was not being taken by a large amount of the US population.2

Nearly 2000 individuals participated in the study—from 26 different IBD practices throughout the United States—which collected evidence of symptoms “across 11 organ systems.” The most common post-vaccine symptom among them was general pain (reported by 14% of participants), followed by fatigue, headache, and fever/chills.

Symptoms were classified as mild, moderate, severe, or requiring hospitalization; severe and requiring hospitalization were grouped together in a category defined as as “severe+”

Compared with the adverse effects experienced after previous vaccine doses, adverse effects after a fourth dose were milder overall according to the researchers, who also noted that “severe+ symptoms were less frequently reported.”

Though the sample size of this study was limited and future studies on the topic are warranted, researchers were confident in concluding that a fourth dose of the mRNA vaccine produces less frequent and less severe side effects in those diagnosed with IBD.

1. Lee Y, Li D, Mujukian A, et al. Post-vaccination symptoms after a fourth dose of mRNA Sars-cov-2 vaccination in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Presented at Digestive Disease Week; May 6-9, 2023; Chicago, Illinois. Abstract 1118.
2. Less than 4% of eligible people have gotten updated Covid booster shots, one month into the rollout. NBC News. September 30, 2022. Accessed May 10, 2023.
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