During this unprecedented time of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, allergy patients have many questions about the vaccine that protects against the coronavirus. For people who have allergies, you may wonder whether it’s safe for you to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Allergy and immunology specialist Ulrike Ziegner, MD, at Riviera Allergy Medical Center wants you to have the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine. Managing allergies is tricky, but with the right treatment, people with allergic conditions lead normal, productive lives.

Now that vaccines are available to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19, allergy patients need to make an informed decision about whether to get the vaccine. Take a few moments to find out more about this vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccine: What we know so far

So far, three COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) have received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for people aged 12 and over. These vaccines are very effective at reducing the risk of severe COVID-19 illness by 65 to 95%. 

Allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines

The CDC has reported a small number of cases of severe allergic reaction after administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s important to keep in mind that allergic reactions to the vaccine have been rare — 11 cases per million doses. 

The COVID-19 vaccine contains ingredients such as stabilizers and other additives that you may need to avoid if you’re allergic to them. The ingredients for each vaccine vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. 

If you have an allergy to common additives, check the ingredient list for each vaccine and talk to Dr. Ziegner about whether it’s safe for you to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s recommended that anyone with serious allergies to any of the vaccine ingredients avoid getting the vaccine. 

If you’ve had a severe reaction to other types of vaccines, like the flu vaccine, it’s still considered safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It may be unsafe to get the vaccine if you’ve had a severe reaction to mRNA vaccines. If either of these scenarios fits your situation, it’s best to talk to Dr. Ziegner about it. 

Dr. Ziegner can discuss ways to stay safe if you must avoid vaccination.

Sensitivity reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine

There are also reports of a small number of patients developing hives following COVID-19 vaccine administration. These cases are considered a sensitivity reaction and aren’t life-threatening. The hives are temporary and go away on their own. 

There are no reports of chronic or recurring hives in connection with the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC maintains that rare reactions should not deter you from getting the vaccine. 

General allergies and the COVID-19 vaccine

Keep in mind this bit of good news: Having allergies like allergic rhinitis generally doesn’t exclude you from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, the CDC recommends that you get the vaccine even if you have food or environmental allergies. Many people with allergies have safely received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

However, if you have an allergic reaction to the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s recommended that you avoid getting the second dose.

People with a family history of allergic reaction can get the COVID-19 vaccine

You may feel concerned about getting the COVID-19 vaccine if an immediate family member has had an allergic reaction to the vaccine. As far as we know, this doesn’t create any added risk.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t change the way you manage your allergies. Regardless of whether you choose to get the vaccine, you should continue to follow your prescribed allergy plan.

Dr. Ziegner and the team at Riviera Allergy Medical Center are staying on top of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic to bring you the latest, most up-to-date information. As the situation changes, recommendations may change. Check back regularly for COVID-19 information as it relates to living with allergies. 

For all of your allergy and immunology needs, call our Redondo Beach, California, office at 310-504-3242 to schedule a visit with Dr. Ziegner. 

You can also send a message to Dr. Ziegner and the team here on our website.

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