What you need to know about the Allergic Reactions to the COVID-19 Vaccine

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.

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What services are provided as a part of my annual fee?
  • Same-day or next business day appointments
  • Direct access to Dr. Espinosa via his personal cell phone after hours, weekends, and holidays
  • Minimal office wait times
  • Longer, more comprehensive appointments
  • House Calls (requires additional trip fee)
  • A strong focus on preventive medicine, long-term health and wellness
  • A personal professional relationship with your physician
What is the mission of Buckhead Medicine?

We strive to provide the highest quality medical care, emphasizing a comprehensive approach to prevention and disease management. We want patients to be completely satisfied with every aspect of their care.

Where is your office and are you on the medical staff of a local hospital?

Yes, Dr. Espinosa’s office is in Buckhead, a suburb of Atlanta. He is on the medical staff of Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia and Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. If you require hospitalization, Dr. Espinosa will coordinate your patient care by working with the hospital based physicians. He will also make periodic hospital visits during your hospitalization.

Who will cover for you when you are not available?

On infrequent occasions when Dr. Espinosa is out of town or otherwise unavailable, he will have another qualified physician cover for him. Even while out of town, Dr. Espinosa will generally be available by phone to his patients and to his covering physicians. For practical reasons, we reserve the right to designate another qualified physician to perform any and all services should the need arise.

Do you accept insurance?

Commercial Insurance and Medicare:
Buckhead Medicine is an In-Network provider for Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO, Aetna, Coventry, Humana, Cigna, Tricare and United Healthcare. Our practice fully participates in the Medicare program. Buckhead Medicine accepts all other insurance as an Out-of-Network provider. We, however, do not participate in the Medicaid program. Regardless of your plan, we will bill your insurance for all covered services. It is our intention that no insurance-covered medical services are included in your annual fee.

HMO and Medicare HMO:
We do not participate in HMO programs. As such, HMO patients will not be able to join the practice until they transition to either a PPO or traditional Medicare plan.

Do I still need insurance if I enroll with you?

Yes. Personalized medical practices do not take the place of general health insurance coverage. Buckhead Medicine is a primary care medical practice, not a health insurance program. You are advised to continue your PPO, Medicare or other insurance program. If you are an uninsured individual and desire to enroll in the practice, we will provide you with a discounted fee schedule for office visits, tests and procedures.

What if I don't have health insurance?

For uninsured patients, Buckhead Medicine offers an uninsured patient plan. Although this plan is not insurance, it does cover for all clinic visits and any labs or tests that are performed in our office. In many cases this plan provides for significant cost savings to uninsured individuals. Please contact our office for additional details on this plan.

Will my insurance still be billed for my office visits?

Yes, we will bill your insurance company directly. The annual fee does not cover costs for regular exams or testing conducted inside or outside of the clinic. These costs are billed to your insurance provider in the same manner that traditional practices bill insurers.

Is there a co-payment?

If you have commercial insurance, we will collect the co-payment at the time of service. Medicare patients usually do not require a co-payment.

Do you bill Medicare for the annual fee?

No. The annual fee is not covered by Medicare. The fee only includes services that are not covered by Medicare and, as such, cannot be paid for or reimbursed by Medicare. We will bill Medicare for your sick visits and for any additional services performed at this practice that are covered by Medicare.

Will my commercial insurance reimburse my annual fee?

No, commercial insurance does not typically reimburse for the annual fee. However, some Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account plans may pay for all or part of the annual fee. In addition, some insurance plans allow the concierge fee to apply towards the annual deductible. Members are advised to consult their human resources representative at their place of employment.

Is the annual fee tax deductible?

In many cases the annual fee is a tax deductible healthcare expense. Patients are advised to consult with their tax consultant to clarify qualification in their particular circumstance.

Does the annual fee cover lab, x-ray, specialist fees and hospitalization?

Services such as labs, x-ray, specialty visits or hospitalizations are covered based on coverage determined by your insurance plan.

Are there age limits?

Dr. Espinosa is an Internal Medicine physician. His specialty is Adult medicine. Dr. Espinosa is trained to manage acute and chronic medical illnesses among adults. As such, the practice is limited to patients 17 years of age and older.

What if I have an emergency?

If you have a life threatening emergency, call 911 immediately. After you call 911, please call Dr. Espinosa. He will contact the hospital and notify the emergency room of your tentative arrival. In addition, Dr. Espinosa will provide the emergency room with pertinent medical history information

How far in advance do I need to book an appointment?

Dr. Espinosa is committed to providing his patients with easy access to care. All urgent visits will be accommodated either same day or next day, placing the greatest priority on the sickest patients. Annual physical exams will be booked 1 to 2 weeks in advance.

What do I do if I become ill while traveling or away on an extended vacation?

Call 911 if you have a life threatening emergency. Then call Dr. Espinosa. Call Dr. Espinosa first if the problem is minor. With the exception of a few controlled substances, most prescriptions can be ordered anywhere in the country. If necessary, it may be possible for Dr. Espinosa to find you a resource in your area. If you seek care at an emergency room or urgent care center out of our area, we request that you have the doctor seeing you call Dr. Espinosa for coordination. Dr. Espinosa will be readily available by phone for consultation with you and/or other health care personnel. If you should require hospitalization while away, at your request, Dr. Espinosa will establish phone communication with you and your attending physician(s) to ensure continuity of care.

Do you make house calls?

House calls will be available to Buckhead Medicine members, within a limited radius from the clinic. These will be done as deemed appropriate by Dr. Espinosa on a case-by-case basis. Home visits will be billed to your insurance provider similar to an office visit. A separate trip fee is required for house calls.

What if I need to see a specialist or a surgeon?

Of course, Buckhead Medicine patients are free to see any specialist they wish. We are available to help you decide what specialists to see and to coordinate such consultations. Patients may frequently request for “doctors in my area”, and we can accommodate this. We will ensure that the most appropriate resources are used, the earliest arrangements are made, and your applicable medical information is sent in advance of your specialist visit.

What about the cost of prescription medications?

The cost of prescription medications are the patient’s responsibility and in most cases should be covered by their insurance plans. We have expertise in assisting patients in purchasing medications in the most cost effective manner.

Will I be required to pay my annual fee even if I do not use your services?

Yes. Paying your annual fee allows you to be a member of the practice whether you are sick or well. We encourage our patients to utilize the amenities offered such as wellness consultations and emails for appropriate non-urgent health related questions, regardless of your state of health.

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