There has been lots of coverage on news outlets about allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine. Many people are now worried about receiving the vaccine given their underlying conditions. It is important to understand the vaccine and its benefits before deciding whether to not receive it.


What is a mRNA vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines. These vaccines are different in how they make the body form an immune response. A small portion of viral protein is encoded on mRNA (messenger RNA, a nucleic acid that contains genetic material). It is delivered to the body with instructions on how to make proteins found within the virus. The cells make the protein and then the immune system creates antibodies to the protein because it is recognized as foreign. If the immune system encounters the COVID-19 virus in the future, there will already be pre-made antibodies and other immune pathways to defend the body from infection. It is important to note that the vaccines do not contain any live virus. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.


I have an immunodeficiency so I cannot receive the vaccine.

Those who have an immunodeficiency can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). The COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines and there is a possibility of a diminished immune response to the vaccine. They suggest speaking with your treating physician for more information and advice.


I have allergies and I do not want to have an allergic reaction.

Severe allergic reactions to vaccines are possible, however they are extremely rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) already has several recommendations regarding the administration and management of allergic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. These include:

  • Those with a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to an injectable medication or other vaccine should use caution when receiving the vaccine and be observed during a 30-minute observation period.
  • Those with a history of severe allergic reaction¬†to any component of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine¬†(including polyethylene glycol) should not be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
  • In all cases, the vaccine should be administered in a healthcare setting where severe allergies (e.g., anaphylaxis) can be treated. Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis and should be readily available.


I have asthma and I am worried about the vaccine.

Those with asthma can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as there is no information to believe otherwise. If you are unsure about receiving the vaccine then you should schedule an appointment with an allergist.

Here at National Allergy & ENT, our allergists are skilled and ready to help those who are unsure about their circumstances regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. To schedule an in office or telemedicine appointment, please call (843) 797-8162 or schedule online. Interested in helping different COVID-19 vaccines reach the market? National Allergy & ENT Research is currently enrolling for a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. If interested please call (843) 261-2222 or sign up for a study here.