Sher Allergy Specialists
COVID-19 vaccines and allergic reactions
The CDC has recently learned of reports that some people in the U.S. have experienced severe allergic reactions after getting the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the CDC have provided certain recommendations related to this risk based on the best knowledge to date. Our team at Sher Allergy Specialists is ready to answer your questions, provide counseling, and offer allergy testing to the vaccine components.
WHAT ARE THE COVID-19 VACCINES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE?
As of today, there are three (3) COVID-19 vaccines that received emergency authorization by the FDA: the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccines. Both Pfizer- BioNTech and Moderna are mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine that teach our cells how to make a protein—a part of the virus—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
HOW COMMON ARE ALLERGIC REACTIONS TO COVID-19 VACCINES?
In December 2020, two highly effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 received FDA approval: the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines. To date, there have been limited allergic reactions to both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in the U.S. It is still a rare occurrence.
WHAT IS CAUSING THE ALLERGIC REACTIONS TO THE COVID-19 VACCINE?
Although the specific vaccine component has not been identified, polyethylene glycol (PEG) is one of the ingredients (excipient) and has been known to cause anaphylaxis in other drugs. Since polysorbate, an excipient found in medications and foods, can cross-react with PEG, patients with allergic reactions to polysorbate should not be immunized with the mRNA vaccines.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I'M ALLERGIC TO PEG OR POLYSORBATE?
The following are questions currently being used to screen patient's risk:
♦ Do you have a history of allergic reaction to an injectable medication (intravenous, intramuscular, or subcutaneous)?
♦ Do you have a history of allergic reaction to a prior vaccine?
♦ Do you have a history of allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate?
♦ Do you have a history of an immediate allergic reaction (of any severity) to an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, please give us a call and schedule your visit for further evaluation and allergy testing.
IS SHER ALLERGY SPECIALISTS OFFERING ALLERGY TESTING TO THE COVID-19 VACCINE?
YES! We are now offering allergy testing to the components in the vaccine suspected to be causing allergic reactions. We are evaluating patients to determine their risk for an immediate reaction and those who qualify are tested to the components or excipients PEG and polysorbate. Recommendations are provided based on these results.
CAN I GET THE COVID-19 VACCINE?
People with asthma, nasal allergies, common allergies to medications, foods, inhalants, insects and latex have NO increased risk.
The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines and can be administered to immunocompromised patients.
If you have further questions and wish to discuss with our specialists, please schedule your visit at 727-397-8557.