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COVID-19 vaccine & allergies: Who doctors say should take precautions

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Posted at 6:51 AM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 07:50:02-05

TAMPA, Fla.  — Some people are cautious about getting the COVID-19 vaccine due to their allergies.

“Specifically for someone like me that has so many allergies to pretty much everything, I am concerned,” said Michelle Castillo who is waiting for a vaccine.

Doctors tell us having allergies for most people doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a problem getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

“Let’s say they took penicillin or amoxicillin one time and they had a little bit of a rash or they had an upset stomach afterwards, that typically is not a contraindication for the vaccine,” said Dr. Laura Arline, Chief Quality Officer of Baycare Health System.

She says while there isn’t a concern for anyone with pollen allergies or for people who’ve had some mild reactions to medications, people who’ve had severe allergic reactions should take some precautions.

“I am allergic to several different antibiotics. I’ve always had bad reactions. I would always get hives and to the point where I would have trouble breathing,” said Castillo.

“If someone has an immediate allergic reaction, and what that is would be something like hives, or what’s called angioedema which is swelling of the lips or the airway, or they had wheezing or anaphylaxis after any other type of vaccine or injectable type of therapy,” said Arline.

Experts say those are the people who would need to be monitored for 30 minutes after receiving the COIVD-19 vaccine and may benefit from seeing an allergist beforehand.

Anyone with allergies who has concerns should speak to their primary care provider, but doctors say most people shouldn’t be worried.

“At this current moment, nothing has indicated that there’s anything unsafe about it, but we do know the danger of the current virus that we’re facing. I would not recommend waiting. I would recommend people getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Kevin Sneed, Dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Pharmacy.