Individuals all over the globe are in the process of currently getting their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. While these various types of authorized vaccines are a breakthrough in a bid to control the spread of the infection, there have been reported side effects. While this is an expected occurrence, a small percentage of people have also witnessed allergic reactions. We help rectify your doubts about these side effects and what distinguishes them from allergic reactions based on the information we are acquainted with today.

The usual side effects that arise

To begin with, the basic objective of a vaccine involves getting your body to build immunity so that it can identify the targeted virus and produce antibodies to fight it. During this process, it is normal for an individual to experience minor side effects. These side effects have a tendency to affect your everyday activities and can include fever and fatigue. However, they usually disappear after a few days. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mild side effects such as pain, swelling, irritation or redness at the site of the injection are common. Fever is also a resulting side effect. Other than this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that you can also feel nausea, fatigue, tiredness, muscle pain, headache and chills. 

Severe allergic reactions 

Allergic reactions do not just vanish like minor side effects. If you suffer an immediate allergic reaction (within four hours of getting vaccinated), discuss this reaction with your doctor before moving forward with the second vaccine, even if the initial reaction was mild and did not need prompt medical care. This is because there is a small possibility that an individual can have more severe side effects. There is every likelihood that these side effects may actually be a severe allergy. The reaction could be a result of either one or more of the ingredients present in the vaccine. The allergic reactions can cause hives or other kinds of skin rash, respiratory symptoms, wheezing, lip or tongue swelling and throat swelling. 

Reports suggest that allergic reactions are more frequently reported in women than men. A study by CDC researchers state that 78.7% of adverse event reports submitted through the first month of U.S vaccination included women. In fact, anaphylaxis is more common in women than men. However, regardless of gender, if the side effects you experience do not subside after a few days, it is imperative to get in touch with a medical professional. Furthermore, if the redness or tenderness where you are injected gets worse after 24 hours, consult your doctor. 

Anaphylaxis: A severe allergic reaction 

A small number of people are also found to develop a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. This very rare side effect can cause difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure and nausea. If you get a severe reaction after the first shot, do not get the second one. 

Successful mRNA vaccines (either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech) come with a chemical known as polyethylene glycol (PEG) which can trigger anaphylaxis. This ingredient has never before been used in a vaccine so it is vital to seek medical assistance in case you have an allergy. You can classify an allergic reaction as severe if an individual needs to head to the hospital or has to be treated with an EpiPen or epinephrine. 

What you need to know

While you do your research on the best type of Covid-19 vaccine, make certain that the vaccine is administered in a health care setup that makes treating anaphylaxis possible. After getting an injection, the individual needs to be put under observation for at least 15-30 minutes to analyze whether there is a link between allergies and coronavirus vaccines. If you have a recognized history of a severe allergic reaction to a component in a vaccine, do not take the mRNA and adenovirus vaccine. There is a component present in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine known as Polysorbate 80. This component can also be a leading factor that results in anaphylaxis. Polysorbate 80  also has the potential to cross react with polyethylene glycol (PEG) which can also be responsible for the severe allergic reaction. 

Patients with allergic reactions to polyethylene glycol (PEG) can be considered for the adenovirus vector vaccine. CDC states that the adenovirus vector vaccine can be an alternative rather than going in for a second dose of an mRNA vaccine. People with common allergies to insects, inhalants, latex, medications and foods need to be informed about the potential side effects the vaccine can cause although they are not more likely than the general public to experience allergies. 

On the whole, the vaccine is safe for administration as long as it is performed by the right professionals that can help you in case a medical emergency does arise. If you do need immediate assistance with regards to the COVID-19 vaccine or are looking for further information about side effects and allergic reactions, get in touch with us. We are currently offering COVID vaccines for new and existing patients in Georgia, Atlanta.