Celebrating No COVID

The doctors at Allergy Partners have been following the pandemic, including vaccine development, testing and distribution closely on your behalf. The approval of the first COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna has been met with enormous public interest and generated a lot of questions and we’d like to answer some of them here:

Who should get the vaccine?
• Almost all adults should get vaccinated

Can children get the current vaccines?
• No vaccine has yet been approved for children under 16 and children should not be vaccinated until studies are complete and a vaccine has been approved for their age group.

Can people with immune deficiencies get the vaccine?
• Because there are more than 450 immunodeficiencies, it is not possible to make a blanket recommendation, but, because none of the vaccines are live, there is no additional risk to immunodeficiency patients.
Because it appears that most immunodeficiency patients infected with coronavirus have not had serious COVID-19 disease, primary immunodeficiency may not be considered a high-risk condition in your state.

Can people with asthma get the vaccine and are they considered at particular risk for serious COVID-19?
• Yes, people with asthma can receive the vaccine. At this time, the best evidence available is that people with asthma, except for some with very severe asthma, are not at increased risk for serious COVID-19 disease and, therefore, are not in a high-risk group.

Do the vaccines work?
• Yes. Extensive clinical trials show that the approved vaccines are clearly effective. Both have been shown to be 94-95% effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Is one vaccine better than another?
• There are more vaccines coming but we don’t know their study results yet. At this time, there is no basis to prefer one vaccine over another.

Are the vaccines safe?
• Yes. Based on tens of thousands of vaccine recipients, the vaccines are safe As with any new medication, some very rare side effects may only be detected when large numbers of people have been vaccinated. There will be continued close monitoring of the safety of these new vaccines over time.

Are there side effects from the vaccine?
• As with all vaccines, rare side effects have occurred. The information about the vaccine reactions is limited but it is likely that some are allergic reactions and some are not.

Can the vaccines cause allergic reactions?
• Rare cases of allergic reactions to have been reported. There is a suspicion that an additive, polyethylene glycol, has triggered at least some of the allergic reactions. Allergy to polyethylene glycol is rare.

If I have had food, stinging insect, medication allergies or hay fever, can I get the vaccine?
• Yes. People with these types of allergy can receive the vaccine, but should be monitored after the vaccine for at least 15 minutes after the vaccine.

If I have had an allergic reaction to other vaccines, can I receive the COVID vaccine?
• Likely yes, but individuals who have previously experienced vaccine reactions should consult with their allergist about where to receive their vaccine and be monitored for at least 30 minutes after the vaccine

Where can I learn more about allergies and the vaccine?

If I get the COVID vaccine, when can I get my allergy shots?
• While there is no data on this, our recommendation is to receive you not receive your allergy shot and COVID vaccine at least one day apart.

How will the vaccine be distributed?
• Distribution of the vaccine will vary by state. Be sure to check your state health department’s web site for information

When will everyone have access to the vaccine?
• It is unlikely that vaccine will be available for the general public until March or April

For more information, please see this post from Johns Hopkins University. As things are changing so rapidly, we will update you as new information becomes available.

By: Dr. Richard Wasserman

Allergy Partners of North Texas