As we approach the date when a COVID-19 vaccine will be available, there have been many questions recently about vaccination in individuals with a history of allergies, asthma, and immunodeficiencies.

The overall risk for an allergic reaction to vaccines is very low; in general, the incidence is about 1 per million doses given. The risk for allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines are about 2-4 per million doses. However, these reactions are not all likely true allergic reactions.  In fact, there is reason to think the risk to the mRNA vaccines (i.e.Pfizer and Moderna) would be even lower as these do not contain any proteins. Allergy to proteins are the cause for most allergies.

There is no evidence that having allergy to foods, medications, stinging insects, latex or inhalants (i.e. pollens, animal dander, mold, dust mite) is associated with an increased risk of an allergic reaction to a vaccine. Having a history of an allergy to these things should not prevent an individual from being vaccinated.

If you have a history of a reaction to a vaccine in the past or a history of allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol or polysorbates (an ingredient in some vaccines) please contact the allergy/immunology office. We can provide guidance and advice for risk stratification.

The American College of Allergy and Immunology COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force has stated,

 "Individuals with common allergies to medications, foods, inhalants, insects, and latex are no more likely than the general public to have an allergic reaction to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine."

We strongly recommend that patients with a history of allergies be vaccinated as well as high risk individuals who would do worse getting the virus. We received our COVID-19 vaccines, and recommend it to our family members, colleagues, and patients who have allergic and immune diseases.  If you have special circumstances (i.e. mastocytosis or mast cell activation disorders, idiopathic anaphylaxis, vaccine reactions or allergies to specific vaccines, infusions or other injections) please discuss this personally with your allergist/immunologist at your next visit.

We will continue to monitor the risk of reactions for the safety of our patients and their families.  

For patients in the COX Health system, please click on this link if you are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine:  

More information may be found at the ACAAI website: 

Dr. Le's Greene County Medical Journal Article on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines also addresses many concerns our patients may have.