So far, there have been less than 20 severe allergic reactions that have been reported with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. It is important to remember that this is out of >1 million people worldwide who have been vaccinated. In all cases, people have successfully been treated for the allergic reaction. These events are being evaluated to determine exactly what reactions have occurred and what (if any) allergies these people have had.
The CDC is currently recommended a 15-minute monitored waiting period after the vaccine; but if you have had a serious of severe anaphylaxis, they are recommending you have 30 minute monitored waiting period after your vaccine.
Additional recommendations will be forthcoming or change, so check back here!
Are there any underlying health conditions where it is recommended that people shouldn’t get the COVID vaccine?
No! Currently there are no underlying medical conditions that preclude you from getting the vaccine. That is because getting COVID is so much worse, especially for people with underlying chronic conditions.
If you do have a significant allergy history, or believe you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine, you should let your provider know. You may be monitored more closely following the vaccine.
Great question! The only people who should NOT get the vaccine are those with a history of severe reactions to the vaccine ingredients. Those ingredients are listed on page 2 of this document: https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download
We do strongly recommend you also discuss your allergy concerns with your doctor!
None of the vaccines are live vaccines. If you obtain these vaccines, you will not be able to pass COVID to someone else.
mRNA vaccines contain no human or animal in them — they are just made with a few salts, sugar, water, a lipid capsule and mRNA.
It appears that people who get the COVID vaccines are more likely to get some mild flu-like symptoms: sore arm, muscle aches, fatigue, GI discomfort, etc. This appears to happen a bit more with this vaccine than with (for example) the flu vaccine; and it appears to be more common after the second dose of the vaccine, and can last up to 24–36 hours.
But please remember: this is a GOOD thing! It means your body is responding to the vaccine and building up the defense you need to protect you from COVID! (Think of it like working out — you have to get a little sore to build up that muscle!)
It is absolutely fine to take Tylenol or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to treat these symptoms if they occur; but it is currently NOT recommended to take those medications to prevent these symptoms before they start because it is unclear at this time if they will interfere with the antibody response and vaccine effectiveness.
And don’t worry if you don’t have these symptoms — some people do, some people do not!
I am immunosuppressed and/or have a high-risk medical problem: is it safe for me to get the COVID vaccine?
YES! The CDC is ABSOLUTELY recommending that people who are immunosuppressed or have high-risk medical problems get vaccinated. Please remember: this is NOT a live vaccine; and it does not enter the nucleus of the cell. As a result, for these patients, the vaccine poses a far less risk than getting infected with COVID19!
I have heard that if I’ve had COVID and get the vaccine, it could lead to too many antibodies which could predispose you to autoimmune disorders. Is there any concern or truth to that?
This is not true. It is recommended that even if you have had COVID in the past you get vaccinated. We have not seen an increased number of autoimmune flares with either the vaccine or with COVID.
RNA are like post-it notes (or, for the younger crowd, Snapchat messages that expire!). At any moment, a human cell has 5000+ different RNA messages. They are read by the cells and then destroyed within minutes to hours.
Because they are temporary, they do NOT become a permanent part of your body. In fact, they do not enter the nucleus of the cell and they never interact with a person’s DNA.
These temporary RNA messages instruct the cells of the body to make proteins. In the case of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, they message for one single coronavirus protein: the spike protein. This is the protein that the virus needs to enter the cells. So by developing antibodies to block it, you prevent COVID!
Now: remember — it takes 25 different proteins to make a coronavirus. So your body is NOT making a coronavirus with the RNA vaccine!
It is also important to remember that tens of thousands of people have already received this vaccine and have been watched for several months now. All of this data has been reviewed by independent safety boards across the world. Safety review boards are NOT controlled by the company that makes the vaccine. The end result is a lot of safety data. In all of these reviews, no serious concerns have been found. Rather, the vaccines have shown incredible efficacy.
Bell’s Palsy is a facial paralysis, usually on one side, that causes drooping of the face. It is usually temporary but can rarely become permanent. In the clinical trials, there were 4 cases among over 44,000 in the Pfizer trial and 3 cases in over 30,000 in the Moderna trial who developed Bell’s Palsy. This was higher than in the placebo arms of both trials. However, currently over 12 million first-doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines have been given and Bell’s Palsy does not appear to be occurring more often in the real world. It is continuing to be monitored however.
Yes! It’s an incredible scientific achievement! But realize—research on the technology behind the new COVID-19 vaccine has been underway for at least the past 10+ years. We’ve had prototypes for influenza, rabies and other types of viruses. This pandemic pushed scientists across the world to be really motivated and focused on a single virus and utilized the knowledge they already with significant resources. In the US, we had Operation Warp Speed, a federal partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Department of Defense (DOD), and private companies to develop, manufacture, and distribute 300 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. It was incredibly fortunate that they picked the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 to focus on, as it turned out this was the right protein to target!
These vaccines have been tested in clinical trials enrolling tens of thousands of people, just like other vaccines. The timeline was accelerated, but steps were not skipped. You can see the FDA briefing materials that provide a comprehensive overview of the safety and efficacy data.
Yes vaccines can contain metals; and so do blueberries, eggs and bananas! Metals are part of nature. Your body needs certain types of metals for appropriate function; and your body can handle these micro doses of metals and excrete them appropriately — including those in the foods you eat AND in vaccines.
People with autoimmune diseases are not expected to have “flares” after receiving the vaccine — this was not seen in any of the data reviewed from the Pfizer vaccine; and also is not seen in active COVID-19 infections
“It was recently calculated (based on data from the Pfizer vaccine) that 1 person per every 100,000 will have a severe allergic reaction. For this reason, everyone receiving the vaccine is monitored for 15 minutes following the vaccination; and if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction in the past, you should be monitored for 30 minutes. It is also important to remember that allergic reactions are easily recognizable and easily treatable—no one has died from a severe allergic reaction to the COVID vaccine.
The CDC has recommended that persons with a known (diagnosed) allergy to PEG (polyethylene glycol) or polysorbate, have a contraindication to vaccination. Persons with a reaction to a vaccine, but in whom it is unknown what caused the reaction have a precaution to vaccination and may want to discuss with their physician.
Per the CDC, a delayed local injection-site reaction after the first mRNA vaccine dose is not a contraindication or precaution to the second dose. You will also want to discuss with your health care provider.