Information about COVID-19 Vaccines for People with Allergies


Updated Feb. 25, 2021

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination provider site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911. Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccines and Allergic Reactions.

If you are allergic to an ingredient in a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine

If you have had a severe allergic reaction or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

Information about Specific Vaccines

As an example, an allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen© or if they must go to the hospital. Experts refer to severe allergic reactions as anaphylaxis.

An immediate allergic reaction happens within 4 hours after getting vaccinated and may include symptoms such as hives, swelling, and wheezing (respiratory distress).

If you are allergic to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate

Polysorbate is not an ingredient in either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine but is closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines. People who are allergic to PEG or polysorbate should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

If you are allergic to other types of vaccines

If you have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated.

If you have allergies not related to vaccines

CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies—get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.Top of Page

More Information

What we know about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine: Timing, dosage, access in Washington state

Feb. 26, 2021 at 6:00 am Updated Feb. 26, 2021 at 7:34 am

Roxanne Erolin, a research specialist, puts a blood sample into a centrifuge at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Wednesday in Seattle. Seattle is the only site in the state that is part of clinical trials on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is expected to be approved soon for emergency use.  (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
This blood sample is part of a clinical trial, at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, measuring the effectiveness of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.  (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
Roxanne Erolin, a research specialist at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
Roxanne Erolin, a research specialist, prepares a blood sample at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Wednesday for a clinical trial on the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine requires only one dose and remains stable in a medical refrigerator for long periods of time. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

 1 of 4 | Roxanne Erolin, a research specialist, puts a blood sample into a centrifuge at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research… (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times) More Skip Ad Evan Bush  and Sandi Doughton Seattle Times staff reporters

A year after doctors identified an outbreak of coronavirus in the Seattle area, a third vaccine is expected to arrive soon to bolster the arsenal against the virus, now responsible for more than 500,000 deaths in the United States. 

The new vaccine, which was developed by Johnson & Johnson, could be authorized for emergency use as soon as this weekend and ship nationwide next week. The vaccine could hasten a rollout that has lagged public expectations and has been hampered by supply and distribution problems.

And the Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s key characteristics — that it requires only one dose and remains stable in a refrigerator for long periods of time — could help health officials get it to hard-to-reach groups, such as those experiencing homelessness or maritime workers heading out to sea.

The two vaccines that have received emergency approval in the United States — from Pfizer and Moderna — require two doses.

If the federal Food and Drug Administration greenlights the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use, Washington state expects to receive next week some 60,900 doses, said Michele Roberts, the Washington state Department of Health’s acting assistant secretary in charge of vaccine rollout.

The federal government also plans to make more doses available directly to community health centers and pharmacies.ADVERTISINGSkip AdSkip AdSkip Ad

How the state will use the new supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccine remains an open question.

“We’re waiting for final guidance before we finalize plans,” Roberts said in a Thursday news briefing.

That guidance will trickle out this weekend and early next week, as independent advisers to the federal government assess data from the vaccine’s clinical trials and debate how best to put it to work.

First, an advisory committee to the FDA will meet Friday and vote on whether the vaccine is safe and effective. A separate committee advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will outline a general strategy for use of the vaccine, which state leaders can adopt at their discretion.

Data released by FDA officials Wednesday provides some insight.

Overall, the vaccine had a 72% efficacy rate during its clinical trial in the United States and evidence suggests the vaccine is safe and causes only mild side effects.

In South Africa, where a highly contagious coronavirus variant is driving cases, the efficacy was 64%. Health officials earlier this week announced that the same concerning variant had been discovered in Washington state. ADVERTISINGSkip Ad

While the Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s overall efficacy is lower than the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines, which both tout efficacy figures near 95%, the most important metric is how well it prevents severe disease and death, said Lisa Jackson, of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. 

On that score, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s performance was an impressive 85% and there were no deaths among trial participants who got the shot.  

“You want to prevent people winding up in the hospital,” Jackson said. “You might have more mild cases, but that is less consequential for the individual and for society.”




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