People with allergies should get vaccinated against COVID in exactly the same way as the rest of the population, but there are some exceptions. Those who have had very serious allergies to any of the components of the vaccines should not get the one that contains that component. With those of Pfizer and Moderna, in which some cases of serious allergies have been seen, it may be to a component called polyethylene glycol that both carry. Those allergic to this component should not get those vaccines, but they can get another one that does not contain it. The detailed composition of all vaccines is indicated on the package inserts.
With regard to people who have developed allergies to other medications or foods, they should be aware that allergies are specific, and they do not have to have any problems with these vaccines.
When a person receives the vaccine, they must stay between 15 and 20 minutes in the place where they have been vaccinated.
It is also important to know that when a person receives the vaccine, they must stay between 15 and 20 minutes in the place where they have been vaccinated (health center, hospital, etc …). It has been seen that at this time is when serious allergies appear because it is a very rapid hypersensitivity. That is why it has been decided that vaccinated people remain in the vaccination centers during that time. If a problem is detected, the toilets are prepared, for example with epinephrine, in case it had to be injected.
But the most important thing is that all citizens know that serious cases are extremely rare. Very, very few have been described among the millions of people who have already been vaccinated. Therefore the message that must be sent is that of tranquility. The side effects that are being detected are minimal in all people, also in those with allergies. There may be pain in the arm, a small swelling or redness in the area of the puncture, or also a low-grade fever or tiredness. They are side effects that are controlled without any problem. Vaccines are very safe and everyone should get vaccinated without fear.
People who know that they are allergic to any of the components or who believe that they may be, should consult with their family doctor and it will be this, taking into account the medical history of the patient, the one who makes the decision of which vaccine should be given or request some proof from you. As there are several vaccines available and not all have the same components, if you are allergic to any of them, the solution is for that person to receive one of those that does not carry it.
It could be the case, it would be rare but possible, that a person cannot be vaccinated. For example, those who are immunosuppressed because they have recently had a transplant and even if they receive the vaccine, their response may be low. But if the rest of the population is vaccinated, these people will also be protected.
Vaccination should be seen as a community phenomenon, with more people vaccinated we are putting a greater siege on the virus that will prevent it from being distributed and mutating. Keep in mind that vaccines are to protect against disease, they are not designed to prevent infections. But some studies already indicate that some of them, in addition to protecting against the disease, reduce the number of infections. Although this is not the primary objective we want with a vaccine, since the main thing is that people do not get sick, the fact that they can reduce infections is fantastic news.
Africa González Fernández is Professor of Immunology at the University of Vigo
Question sent via email by Joana Perdigón Bosch
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