Should allergy sufferers get vaccinated against COVID? Experts say yes, with one exception

The Spanish Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (SEAIC) have recalled these days that the avoidance of vaccine from COVID-19 to all those who have had serious reactions with medicines or foods.


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And there are many allergic people who are wondering whether or not they should get vaccinated against COVID-19 after the UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency has advised against giving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to those who have a history of severe reactions to drugs and / or food.

From the Spanish SEIAC they ask not to generalize the avoidance of the administration of the vaccine to all those who have had serious reactions to drugs and / or foods and emphasize that: “The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has, in principle, the same contraindications in allergy sufferers than any other. In other words, it is not recommended in people who have suffered previous allergic reactions to its components ”.

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Thus, in an interview with Europa Press, Dr. Nancy Ortega, president of the Committee on Drug Allergy of the SEAIC, emphasizes that, in the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, the only people with allergies who should not get it are those with allergies to polyethylene glycol (PGE), an excipient in many drugs that can cause allergic reactions.

“People who are allergic to PGE know it because it is a substance that is super present in our daily life and they already have a study and diagnosis on that allergy by their allergist. The most common allergic reaction caused by this substance is contact dermatitis. It is found in bath gels, in colonies, or in shampoo, for example, apart from being present in some medications, such as laxatives, antibiotics, analgesics, antiaggregants, corticosteroids and antihypertensives ”, as highlighted.

Meanwhile, from the Hospital La Salud de Valencia they influence that as an active principle, most of the vaccines at a general level are formed by attenuated viruses or protein fragments, and others such as the coronavirus from Pfizer or Moderna, by RNA of the virus carried in polyethylene glycol (PGE) lipid nanoparticles.

“As excipients, some, such as triple virus or influenza, may contain traces of egg proteins and some antibiotics. In the specific case of the COVID vaccine, it contains PGE, and does not, however, contain traces of eggs or antibiotics ”, he stresses.

At the same time, he remarks that “having an allergy to penicillin, analgesics, or pollens or plant foods or following a treatment with topical or inhaled corticosteroids, for example, does not have to contraindicate the administration of a vaccine.” It does recognize that anaphylactic allergic reactions to PGE, and cross reactivity to Tween80 or polysorbate 80 and other polysorbates, are described, but within the infrequent presentation of allergy to this substance.

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For this reason, Dr. Ortega encourages people to get vaccinated and recalls that after the inoculation of the COVID-19 vaccine (actually any vaccine), what is usually recommended is that people stay at least half an hour in the health center, in case it produces an allergic reaction, which is not usual.


Remember here that each vaccine is different and that the allergic reactions that may occur will depend on the composition of the vaccine. He gives the example of the flu vaccine, of which we have spoken before, and which has had to be developed with eggs and without eggs, as this allergy to eggs is treated as one of the most frequent among the Spanish population.

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“Anaphylaxis due to PGE is not frequent and neither are allergies to it. The issue came up with the English who had three reactions in patients with a high diagnosed allergy, who already had auto-injectable adrenaline with them, and had to put it on. That is why from England they launched that message that patients allergic to either food or drugs with severe allergies could not get the vaccine, “he says.

Now, the American case stands out, “with a million and a peak vaccinated”, more than in the United Kingdom, and a country that has just published the first document that exists in the world on the adverse reactions that have been collected in that Such a high percentage of COVID-19 vaccination: “It has been seen that the only contraindication in itself of the vaccine is related to people allergic to PGE, a molecule that helps protect the messenger RNA of the vaccine from both Pfizer and Moderna ”.

Therefore, the president of the Committee on Allergy to Drugs of the SEAIC insists that only people who are allergic to this component of the vaccine should be exempted from the COVID vaccination, who should already know it.

Here you remember that, as a general rule and not only with this injection, people who are more prone to allergic reactions, if a reaction occurs, it will be magnified if they have a history of severe food allergy, poison bites, latex, or allergic diseases such as mastocytosis; so they should not spend half an hour in the health center after inoculation, but a quarter of an hour more.

In turn, he adds that in this million people vaccinated in the USA, there have only been 11 cases of anaphylaxis, and there have been no deaths. “Yes, there have been minor reactions, pictures of contact dermatitis for example, but they have all resolved and without subsequent complications. Therefore, with this vaccine, there is a very low risk of presenting anaphylaxis, and of presenting any adverse effect after the injection, these are mild: Pain at the injection site, or flu-like symptoms (tiredness, fever, joint pain), which with a paracetamol in two days they are solved ”, adds the doctor Ortega.

On the other hand, from the SEAIC they influence that it is necessary to carry out an allergological study of the subjects who report allergic reactions to the vaccines against COVID-19, in order to identify the substance that triggers the reaction; Although it ensures that it is not necessary to systematically carry out an allergological study prior to administering the vaccine to all subjects with severe reactions to drugs and / or foods.

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