Pfizer Booster causing flare up??

NickyBannister Member Posts: 3
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:07 in Living with arthritis

I had Pfizer booster in December and ended up being seen in A&E four days later due to pain and swelling in my knuckles and generally unwell (also Vasculitis). I knew I had arthritis in base of thumb but did not cause any pain. Now I have continual pain in knuckles and also some in my toes. Am taking Naproxen, Paracetamol and Codene (Urgh!) but still not really keeping on top of pain. GP seems totally disinterested and says it "just a flare up of your arthritis". I am also extremely tired despite sleeping well. Is this arthritis flare up? has booster caused an immune response?? Anyone else had similar problem?? Having blood tests done (after insisting) next week.


  • Hi @NickyBannister, welcome to the online community!

    I see that you're having increased pain and swelling in your knuckles and toes affected by your arthritis. You might find these links helpful:

    Swelling, pain, and fatigue are symptoms of a flare-up, but everyone is different. I'm afraid I don't have a direct answer for your question about the vaccine but I do hope you feel better soon, and hopefully the results of your blood tests put your mind at ease.

    Best wishes, Sarah (moderator)

  • NickyBannister

    Thank you.

  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 449
    edited 29. Jan 2022, 18:32

    @NickyBannister @SarahGF @frogmorton @CuriousSquirrel A number of people here have reported a ramping up or ratcheting up of autoimmune disease after vaccination, however to date Versus Arthritis have not proactively collated these individual reports to send to MHRA as a collective observation, (that I am aware of) which MHRA can then investigate.

    It is an important public duty particularly for charities that see more of this to report an uptick in such events on behalf of sufferers so that the MHRA can do something with it.

    Most people will not report to the MHRA thinking nothing will be done because they are one small voice or find their process too onerous, and to an extent they are right.

    Versus Arthritis is a lot easier to talk to as its mainly other sufferers but we hope it will also be the sufferers voice to public bodies like the MHRA.

    In the meantime do please report this to the MHRA, and provide as much as you can so they have something to go on. The same happened to me and they followed up with relevant questions after. The more they see the more likely they will focus on finding an answer or at least advise GPs on prevention.

  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 449
    edited 29. Jan 2022, 18:53

    @NickyBannister Unfortunately as RA is rare (affects only 1% of the population compared to the more frequently occurring age related OA) most GPs are poorly informed of it, and rely on 20% of what they learnt at med school decades ago which more often than not, covers 80% of what they see everyday, its human nature to do that, we all do. My own GP surgery dismissed my early symptoms of RA, claiming I was too young to have RA and showing no visible signs.

    They accepted they had it wrong when I ended up going private 6 months later when the symptoms had become so bad and the Private rheumy took blood tests on the same day and diagnosed me with a very aggressive form of RA, and an NHS hosp endocrinologist investigating something else also wrote to my GP to take my RA seriously! (At which point he finally did).

    UK NICE guidelines (NG100) requires GPs to immediately refer to Rheumatology within 3 days but most Rheumatologists say they have rarely received a referral on time or early.

    My surgery practice mgr was honest enough to admit their ignorance and now use this patient video to educate both patients and surgery clinicians .

    Young Uk patient describes RA

    So in short, get an urgent appointment with your rheumatology lead, and don’t let anyone fob you off, (another frequent occurrence), least of all a GP that normally deals with winter-flu colds & stomach upsets, not complex disease like Autoimmune, which needs a hospital specialist.

  • CuriousSquirrel

    Hi @NickyBannister , so sorry to hear this has happened.

    I had no arthritis symptoms until my first vaccine. Had the AZ vaccine in April and all my symptoms started within the week, starting with restricted movement in my elbows which I noticed two days after the vaccine. It was definitely a new symptom because I regularly do yoga and was very used to be able to straighten my arms, which I can no longer do! Lots of other symptoms followed very quickly, including pain and reduced mobility in my jaw, wrists, lower, hips, and swelling in my knees and ankles.

    I'd like to echo what others have said about not letting anyone fob you off, make sure you do everything you can to be taken seriously.

    Unfortunately I have had very upsetting exchanged with medical professionals when I mention that the vaccine caused my arthritis. They are very defensive and are not allowed to say anything that could be construed as negative about the vaccine, so instead they patronised me and pretended they'd never heard of this before (I know they have because a close friend of mine got Raynaud's from the vaccine and is now seeing rheumatologists in the same small department!) I'm not trying to put you off telling anyone about your concerns as I think we all need to be talking about this. Just a warning to be careful as there is a huge amount of propaganda behind the vaccine rollout!

    I hope you find somebody/ something to help you soon.

  • CuriousSquirrel

    Agreed re. Versus Arthritis collating responses. It would be very helpful to feel as though we were being advocated for, whether or not it's convenient to current media trends. This is obviously a very real problem and should be taken seriously. This will all come out in the wash, but we'll remember who supported us and who ignored us!

    I have reported to MHRA twice with a great deal of detail but as yet heard nothing back from them.

  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 449
    edited 1. Feb 2022, 10:03

    @NickyBannister I found that RA triggered by Covid vax has already been reported in France, and a paper published in the peer reviewed journal, ScienceDirect.

    Paper title is “The onset of post-vaccination rheumatoid arthritis: a potential adverse effect of mRNA vaccines”

    …Here we report two cases of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) arising following mRNA vaccination against COVID-19.


    It can be seen that RA is often grafted onto a predisposed site (ATCD of arthritis or another autoimmune disease), that its appearance occurs a few days after the vaccine and that it worsens after the 2nd injection. The evolution is in most cases chronic requiring basic treatment”

    Dry language but in summary just says RA was observed triggered by the vax, and becomes chronic RA.

    Rheumatism Review

    34th French Congress of Rheumatology

    Volume 88, Supplement 1, 

    Pages A1-A340 (December 2021)

  • YvonneH
    YvonneH Member Posts: 1,076


    I have been following your comments in this discussion and others within the online community regarding vaccinations causing arthritis conditions or worsening of symptoms. I will be collecting the information and passing it on to the relevant team shortly. If you particularly wish to give me more detail or add your name please send me a personal message or email

    Its great that you have been able to meet here to give each other support and allow us to add an extra insight to our COVID team.

    Yvonne x

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,641

    Thank you @YvonneH that is great news👍️

  • Denny55
    Denny55 Member Posts: 11

    Well this is very interesting. I had injections last year. Right thumb in July and Left thumb in August. All was going well until December. I had Covid Booster mid November and I had quite a bad reaction to it. Headaches, metallic taste, cold and flu symptoms. Reaction was so bad that doctor told me to have Pcr test. December the arthritis in both my thumbs flared up a bit and then got really bad just after Christmas. I thought I had just overdone things a bit. January both hands were extremely painful but have eased off a bit now. I have now contacted Muscosketal clinic to discuss another injection and possible operations.

    Im now wondering if Booster is responsible for sudden onset of pain