Allergies and the COVID-19 Vaccine
You may have heard reports about allergic reactions that have occurred as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s what you should know:
- Allergic reactions are very rare. For most people, the risk of getting COVID-19 is far greater than the risk of an allergic reaction from the COVID-19 vaccine.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a vaccine or medical product, you should discuss receiving the vaccine with your healthcare provider.
- If possible, your healthcare provider will compare the ingredients in the vaccine that you received before with the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine. The complete ingredient list for the Pfizer vaccine is available on this fact sheet from the Food and Drug Administration.
- The Fact Sheet states that you should not get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine if you had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine or if you had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in this vaccine.
- Allergic reactions are very rare but usually arise within about 10 minutes. Everyone who receives the vaccine is observed for no less than 15 minutes. Observation staff are prepared to provide medical treatment for severe allergic reaction in the very rare instance that a vaccinated person shows signs of distress.
Marie George, MD, FIDSA, is an infectious disease specialist at Southwestern Vermont Health Care in Bennington.