Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have allergies?

Should allergy sufferers get the COVID vaccine?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A local allergist said having allergies doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a COVID-19 vaccine, but you may want to do a little more research.

Whether you have hay fever or food sensitivities, Dr. Bill Massey, with Alabama Allergy, said people with all sorts of allergies can get the vaccine without any difficulty... but there are reasons to be cautious.

“If you’ve had anaphylaxis to a previous vaccine or an injected medication, then your risk for having a reaction to the COVID vaccine is slightly elevated,” Dr. Massey said.

Dr. Massey recommends that if you’ve had a reaction to a vaccine that contains similar ingredients to any of the current COVID-19 shots, you may want to sit down with an allergist.

He said 80% of people who had a reaction to a COVID-19 shot did so within the first 30 minutes of getting it.

But new research shows the Johnson & Johnson vaccine might be better for allergy sufferers.

“During their trials, they did not see the kind of allergic reactions that we’ve seen with the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccine. However, since they’ve started giving it to the general population in different countries, they’ve now had two systemic allergic reactions,” Dr. Massey explained.

But he stresses that’s out of millions of doses, and still believes the benefits outweigh the risks.

“People are going into the hospital and dying every day from this, and we’re not seeing people dying from the allergic reactions to the vaccine, so I recommend that people get the vaccine,” Dr. Massey said.

He added that he’s also heard talk that people who have had allergic reactions to the Moderna and Pfizer shots may be able to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as their second shot.

But Dr. Massey said he’s skeptical about that because there may be some cross-reactivity between vaccines.

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