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Anti-COVID-19 vaccine and Allergic Reactions

by | Mar 18, 2021 | Coronavirus | 0 comments

  1. Authorized Anti-COVID-19 Vaccines
  2. Anti-COVID-19 Vaccine and Allergens
  3. Who’s Allergic can Vaccinate?
  4. Allergic reaction symptoms
  5. Prevention of Allergic Reactions
  6. Anti-COVID-19 vaccine, other allergies and diseases

The development and distribution of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine have been the subject of many discussions right away.

Undoubtedly, the issues of most significant interest have been and continue to be efficacy (i.e., the COVID-19 vaccine works?) and safety (i.e., the COVID-19 vaccine has adverse effects and how likely?).

The article aims to get involved in security, analyzing some very important aspects, such as allergens in vaccine preparations currently available. Substances are likely to cause allergic reactions and indications of use for persons with known allergies.

However, it should not be forgotten that the anti-COVID-19 vaccines are newly developed pharmacological preparations, so some data may vary over time.

Authorized Anti-COVID-19 Vaccines

Before discussing allergies, readers should be reminded that there are currently three authorized COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech;
  • AstraZeneca
  • Modern. 

Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are vaccines in mRNA (containing SARS-CoV-2 mRNA sequences that can stimulate the immune response necessary to protect against the virus). On the other hand, AstraZeneca is a viral-vector vaccine. Exploits a virus that has been made harmless to carry through the vaccinated SARS-CoV-2 RNA sequence in the person that can stimulate the production of antibodies necessary for virus immunization.

Anti-COVID-19 Vaccine and Allergens

Do Anti-COVID-19 Vaccines contain Allergens?

The COVID-19 vaccine contains potential allergens, which are substances that can trigger allergic reactions.

In particular, they deserve a quote:

  • Polyethylene glycol/macrogol (PEG), present in the Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna
  • Polysorbate 80, contained in AstraZeneca.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG): What it is and why it’s in the Anti-COVID-19 Vaccines and Anaphylaxis

Also known as macrogol or PEG, polyethylene glycol is a polyether compound obtained by polymerization of ethylene oxide.

One interesting aspect of this substance is that it is regularly used as an excipient in many pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and even food preparations because of some of its properties.

The specific case of the anti-COVID-19 Comirnaty vaccines of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna serves to stabilize the mRNA molecules to initiate the immune response. To be exact stabilizes the lipid bubbles containing the mRNA molecules.

The allergenic power of the PEG has a scientific basis: Several studies have shown that, in some individuals, it can be responsible for mediated IgE reactions and anaphylaxis.

PEG allergy is not so common; research into this has shown that it is pretty rare.

Polysorbate 80: What is it, because it’s in the AntiCOVID-19 Vaccine and allergenic power

Polysorbate 80 is a non-ionic and emulsifying surfactant for pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food use.

In the pharmaceutical sector, this substance is used in the manufacture of medicinal products for parenteral use. 

The anti-COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine serves to stabilize the final preparation and facilitate the mixing of the various ingredients.

The allergenic power of polysorbate 80 also has scientific bases: Some studies have shown that, in some subjects. It produces an anaphylactic reaction (very similar to an anaphylactic reaction) with a non-immunological mechanism (i.e. IgE is not involved).

The allergy to polysorbate 80 is rare, just like the PEG allergy.

Who’s Allergic can Vaccinate?

Allergy to an Anti-COVID-19 Vaccine Component: What To Do?

People with a known allergy to polyethylene glycol/macrogol (PEG) or polysorbate 80 should not be able to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. 

In fact, the package leaflets of the individual vaccine preparations currently available specify that not all those with allergies to any of the components of vaccines should be vaccinated.

NOTE: in some cases, “serious allergy” is specified. 

In the case of an allergy known to an anti-COVID-19 vaccine component, the current indication is to contact an allergologist expert on allergy to vaccines.

Allergic reaction after First Dose: Can Vaccination continue?

All three variants of the COVID-19 vaccine shall provide for two doses at least 21-28 days apart (21 days only in the case of Comirnaty from Pfizer/BioNTech). 

Suppose the first dose of the vaccine has produced an unintended allergic reaction (as the recipient was not aware that he was allergic to any component of the vaccine preparation). In that case, Vaccination cannot continue, so the second dose is not administered.

Allergy to Anti-COVID-19 vaccine: is there a solution?

As the main contributors to allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are PEG and polysorbate 80, the following refers to these specific situations. 

At present, no study has shown that people with allergies to the PEG react abnormally to exposure to polysorbate 80. 

For the experts and those who need the anti-COVID-19 Vaccination, this is comforting. The AstraZeneca vaccine could be an alternative to the Moderna and Comirnaty vaccines Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines for all individuals allergic to the PEG and vice versa, in the case of an allergy to polysorbate 80.

Allergic reaction symptoms

Allergic reaction to the Anti-COVID-19 Vaccine: What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms and identifying signs of an allergic reaction to the anti-COVID-19 vaccine are: 

  • Itchy hives; 
  • Flower of the face and tongue; 
  • Difficulty breathing. 

A person with a severe allergic reaction to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine needs immediate medical treatment, as a life-threatening emergency situation is underway.

Prevention of Allergic Reactions

How to Prevent the Consequences of an Allergic Reaction to the Anti-COVID-19 Vaccine

The anti-COVID-19 vaccinations are carried out under strict observation by medical staff. 

After the vaccine, unless otherwise specified, the recipient is required to keep himself at the vaccine center for about 15-20 minutes before he can return home. 

Such an approach is used to monitor the individual’s response to the vaccine preparation and intervene promptly, with appropriate medical treatment, in a dangerous allergic reaction.

It should be pointed out that this practice is common to all vaccinations that could trigger an allergic reaction.

Based on the above, in the case of known allergy to an anti-COVID-19 vaccine component, the best prevention of reaction that can be achieved is non-vaccination.

Anti-COVID-19 vaccine, other allergies and diseases

This chapter includes some frequently asked questions concerning the possibility of vaccinating against COVID-19 for all persons with allergies to substances other than those present in vaccines or with particular diseases.

Can people with Food Allergies Vaccinate against COVID-19?

Food allergy sufferers (e.g., an egg allergy) can be obtained from the COVID-19 vaccine by remaining in observation, like all, for 15-20 minutes after the injection.

In the past, if a food allergy has triggered a severe reaction, a longer observation time (60 minutes) is provided, and Vaccination may have to be carried out under medical supervision in the hospital.

Can people with Contact Allergies (Dermatitis) Vaccinate against COVID-19?

If you have contact dermatitis, you can get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can be observed, like everyone else, for 15 to 20 minutes after the injection. 

Can people with Allergies in Pharmacy Vaccinate against COVID-19? 

Drug allergies (e.g., antibiotics) can get the COVID-19 vaccine by remaining in observation, like everyone else, for 15-20 minutes after injection.

In those who have previously had an allergy to a drug that has triggered a severe reaction, there is a longer observation time (60 minutes). And Vaccination may have to be carried out under medical supervision in the hospital. 

Can people with Respiratory Allergies Vaccinate against COVID-19? 

Those who suffer from respiratory allergies (allergic rhinitis, mild bronchial asthma, dust allergy, animal hair, etc.) can achieve the COVID-19 vaccine by remaining in observation. Like everyone else, for 15-20 minutes after the injection.

It should also be pointed out that any anti-allergic treatment undertaken by these persons does not constitute a counterclaim to the anti-COVID-19 vaccine.

Can people with Grave Bronchial Asthma Vaccinate against COVID-19? 

People with severe bronchial asthma can get the COVID-19 vaccine. Still, Vaccination must be carried out under medical supervision in the hospital. 

Can people with Celiachia and Autoimmune Organ-Specific Diseases Vaccinate against COVID-19? 

Individuals with celiac disease or organ-specific autoimmune diseases (e.g., Hashimoto thyroiditis) can be obtained from the COVID-19 vaccine. These diseases do not constitute a counterindication to Vaccination. 

Can people with mastocytosis Vaccinate against COVID-19? 

As with all other types of vaccines, including in the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, people suffering from mastocytosis must: 

  • Pursue an oral anti-histamine cover from 1 day before to 5 days after Vaccination and 
  • Remain under medical supervision for at least 30 minutes after injection.

Can people in Anti-Agulant Therapy Vaccinate against COVID-19?

People in anticoagulant therapy can get the anti-COVID-19 vaccine without having to suspend the current treatment. However, there are some conclusions:

  • Vaccination must take place before the anticoagulant is taken.
  • The injection requires a thin needle, and after it, the injection site must be compressed for 5 minutes.
  • Two to four hours after Vaccination, the injection area should be checked for hematomas.

Can people with Coagulation Diseases Vaccinate against COVID-19?

In the presence of a coagulation disease (e.g., Hemophilia or Von Willebrand disease), a thorough medical assessment is required before the anti-COVID-19 vaccine can be executed by injection.

In these circumstances, the basic requirement for Vaccination is optimal disease control.

Can people with Immunodepression Vaccinate against COVID-19?

Data on the use of the COVID-19 vaccine in people with Immunodepression are limited.

Experts agree that Vaccination is safe and therefore achievable; However, they have doubts about the effectiveness. It appears that the immune response induced by the COVID-19 vaccine is lower in immunosuppressed individuals than in healthy individuals.


  1. Euvichol (Oral Cholera Vaccine)
  2. Public Health Factsheet

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