COVID-19 vaccine: No increased risk for allergy sufferers – doctors

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The coronavirus vaccine does not present an increased risk of allergic reactions for allergy sufferers, and therefore people who are sensitive to common allergens should also get inoculated, the Israel Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology stated in a document released by the Health Ministry on Thursday.

“To date, about 20 million vaccine doses have been given worldwide and only a few cases of significant allergic reaction have been observed, and not a single case of mortality,” reads the letter. “We would like to clarify that in the vast majority of cases an immediate allergic reaction is an antibody-directed response to something that is familiar to our body, while the vaccine is a new and unknown substance. Therefore, there is no increased risk of an allergic reaction to the vaccine in anyone known to be sensitive to inhaled allergens, foods, medications, latex, X-ray contrast materials, insect bites and even in patients with chronic urticaria.”

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The experts recommended that allergy sufferers do get vaccinated following the ministry’s guidelines.

Those who experience some side effects after the first shot are supposed to answer a set of questions by a doctor.

If some local reaction or non-allergic rash occurs over four hours from when the shot is given, the individual can receive the second vaccine, while if the reaction is immediate, the attending physician is required to make an evaluation and to consult with an allergy expert if needed.

The association urges the recipient to consult with a specialist to determine whether to proceed with the second shot only in the case of a severe allergic reaction after the first vaccine.

Due to the fast pace of the development of the coronavirus vaccines, possible undetected side effects have been a matter of concern, although the vaccines currently approved in Israel have received authorization from American, European and British medical authorities. Moreover, minor side effects are normal for most vaccines.

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On Tuesday, Sourasky Medical Center-Ichilov released its findings on side effects following the inoculation of its staff.

Some 1,735 employees took part in the study, including doctors, nurses, researchers and administrative workers. About 37% of them did not register any side effects, and 95% did not present any symptom of an allergic reaction.

Some 44% of the participants described feeling significantly tired, 34% experienced some muscle pain, 30% headaches, 21% shivers, 11% a light fever, and some 10% dizziness or nausea. Other effects included fever over 38 degrees, stomach ache, rashes and diarrhea. Approximately 0.06% suffered from temporary weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles.

About 3% of those inoculated consulted with a doctor, including 0.28% who went to the emergency room.

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