American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 79–87 | Cite as

Cutaneous Adverse Reactions Following Anti-Infective Vaccinations

  • Arjen F. Nikkels
  • Nazli Nikkels-Tassoudji
  • Gerald E. Piérard
Leading Article


Although widely administered, anti-infective vaccinations are rarely responsible for cutaneous adverse effects. In this context, hepatitis B and bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccines are the most frequently incriminated products. Cutaneous adverse effects are less frequently encountered following administration of vaccines against varicella, diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (primary and booster doses), measles, poliomyelitis, rubella, pneumococcus, tick-borne encephalitis, smallpox, Meningococcus and influenza. The adverse effects can occur at the site of or at a distance from the injection. The patho-mechanisms of local adverse cutaneous reactions include predominantly nonspecific lymphoid or granulomatous reactions. Allergic reactions to the vaccine strain, adjuvants, conservatives or other components are less frequently involved in local vaccine adverse effects. Systemic reactions are mainly mediated by immediate type or immune complex-related allergic reactions to toxoid-, ovalbumin-, gelatin- or pneumococcal-containing vaccines. Systemic reactions are sometimes related to a specific vaccine strain. Other cutaneous reactions may also occur through unknown patho-mechanisms. No vaccine type or strain is specifically associated with a particular type of cutaneous adverse effect.

This article presents seven case reports of cutaneous adverse effects following anti-infective vaccination then reviews the relevant literature on this subject.


Atopic Dermatitis Vaccine Strain Local Reaction Tetanus Toxoid Bullous Pemphigoid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arjen F. Nikkels
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nazli Nikkels-Tassoudji
    • 2
  • Gerald E. Piérard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of DermatopathologyUniversity Hospital of Li`egeLiègeBelgium
  2. 2.Dermatology DivisionSankt Josef KlinikSankt VithBelgium

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