Two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and are currently circulating for emergency use in the United States, via Pfizer and Moderna. While both have documented severe allergy reactions, the statistics are still rare and low regarding adverse reactions
Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines for people with histories of allergies. Here’s what we know so far.
As of January 2021, the CDC now says that anyone who has previously suffered an immediate allergic reaction or has a history of allergic reactions should not be vaccinated unless cleared by a doctor. This applies to both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The CDC’s announcement comes after at least two health care workers in Alaska developed reactions after a dose of Pfizer’s vaccine, and a Boston physician had a severe reaction to a dose of Moderna’s; all of which were treated and recovered without incident.
It’s important to note that vaccine reactions are not unique. They happen with seasonal flu shots and are actually signs that the drug is working, indicative of the immune system responding to the vaccine. This is vaccine 101—effectively training our body to create antibodies to serious diseases without making us sick.
Why the COVID-19 vaccines are spurring these specific types of reactions still needs more research. Both went through clinical trials but did so in record-breaking times shorter than traditional methods. Scientists are looking at an ingredient called polyethylene glycol as a possible factor; a compound used to stabilize and transport bubble for the messenger RNA.
Again, rest assured, the fact that these allergic reactions are happening is a good thing, a.) because they reveal the vaccines are indeed working and b.) they are helping us understand more about allergies and COVID-19.
Are you unsure of your allergy history or want to learn more about your existing allergies and the COVID-19 vaccine? Request an appointment today!