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Allergists Offer Reassurance on COVID Vaccines' Safety

TUESDAY, Jan. 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The two COVID-19 vaccinations approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are safe and effective even for people with food or medication allergies, allergists say.

Some allergic reactions in Britain raised concerns, which led Dr. Aleena Banerji, head of the allergy and clinical immunology unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, and her colleagues to review all that's known about allergic reactions to vaccines.

They offer some advice in a new report, published Dec. 31 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, so that people with different allergy histories can safely receive their first COVID-19 vaccine.

They have also developed steps on safely receiving the second dose in those who had a reaction to the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

"As allergists, we want to encourage vaccination by reassuring the public that both FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe," Banerji said in a hospital news release. "Our guidelines are built upon the recommendations of U.S. regulatory agencies and provide clear steps to the medical community on how to safely administer both doses of the vaccine in individuals with allergic histories."

Allergic reactions to vaccines are rare, occurring in about 1.3 per 1 million people. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines will have a similarly low rate, the researchers said.

Also, vaccine clinics will monitor all patients for 15 to 30 minutes and can manage any allergic reactions that occur, they noted.

People with a history of severe allergy (anaphylaxis) to a drug or vaccine should speak with their allergists before being vaccinated. Those with severe allergies to foods, oral drugs, latex or venom can be safely vaccinated, Banerji and her group said.

More information

For more on COVID-19 vaccines, see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, Dec. 31, 2020

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