Hair loss can have a myriad of causes and – every once in a while – that cause is a side effect of another treatment. Do vaccines fall into that category?
There is no doubt that vaccines have saved innumerable human lives by preventing or ameliorating the effects of everything from COVID to the flu and shingles. However, if there is a link, knowing about it helps when planning alopecia treatment strategies.
Of course, the first thing most people want to know from an article like this is how the current pandemic plays into things. It is true that many people are suffering hair loss after contracting COVID… but it appears to be a perfectly normal bodily reaction to having high fevers of severe illnesses and not a specific side effect of COVID.
Hair loss after prolonged stress or illness is called telogen effluvium (which is hair shedding) and can last up to six months once it starts. On the positive side, most people see a return to normality after that time.
The honest answer is that we have not had enough time to gather and process data on the subject. There are some studies supporting both pro and con, but the vaccine has not been in use long enough for reliable data on any causal link to alopecia. Any statement otherwise at this point would be premature.
According to research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), if there is an association between the two then it is a rarely occurring one. They also note the need for further research on the matter.
Studies published by The National Library of Medicine say no. Since some find these studies can be a bit hard to read, here is the pertinent paragraph:
“As far as we know, permanent localized cicatricial hair loss following chickenpox and shingles-induced transitory alopecia areata (AA) has never been reported previously.” (Emphasis added.)
Evidence demonstrates that there are no long-term side effects of the HPV vaccine, including hair loss.
Skipping your immunizations is not recommended. Their health benefits far outweigh the downsides of hair loss – and there is no solid evidence that they contribute to hair loss either. (Since hair loss is usually accompanied by social stress and emotional distress, caregivers should pay special attention to the psychological needs of their charges.)
If you have questions about hair loss and what to do about it, Austin Hair Restoration Clinic has answers. We can develop a customized treatment plan for you, tailored to your precise situation. Our cutting-edge hair restoration techniques include the minimally invasive ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant System. We have both the expertise and the technology to find a solution to your problems!
Contact us today for a free consultation, and let’s take steps toward a more confident you!