CDC issues new COVID-19 vaccine guidelines following allergic reactions

Woman preparing coronavirus vaccine - allergies
Photo via Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Extreme allergic reactions to both the Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccine have prompted fear among populations with severe allergies in the U.S. and U.K.

Most allergies would not cause extreme reactions to the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Updated guidelines show that people with seasonal, food, pet, latex, and other common allergies are not expected to have an adverse reaction, and they are being urged to receive the vaccine.

For vaccination purposes, the CDC is only concerned about allergies that are likely to have a reaction to the vaccine ingredients. Patients who have previously had an allergic reaction to ingredients included in the vaccine or those who experience a first-time allergic reaction to the vaccine should not receive either vaccine or a second dose.

Many of the serious reactions to the vaccines occurred among healthcare workers. Despite advice that food allergies should not be an issue with the COVID-19 vaccine, some people have seen adverse reactions. A Boston doctor with a shellfish allergy said he had “the worst allergic reaction he’s had” since the age of 11 after receiving the Moderna vaccine. At least six people have had severe allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine. 

The following list of ingredients are included in the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, according to the Food and Drug Administration:

“Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.”

The Moderna vaccine’s ingredients differ slightly. The FDA lists these included ingredients:

“Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose.”

If you’ve previously had an adverse reaction to any of these ingredients, you should consult with your doctor before receiving either COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more on the coronavirus vaccine:

Sources: CDC, FDA Moderna EUA, FDA Pfizer BioNTEch EUA, NBC News, The Atlantic

Continue Learning