Answering questions about COVID-19 vaccines

Feb 10 8:00am | Jennifer O'Hara | @jenohara | Comments (22)

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As new COVID-19 variants spread and more people are vaccinated for COVID-19, people have more questions about COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, says that's understandable with new information released every day.

For instance, people are wondering what type of medications they can take if they're being vaccinated for COVID-19. There are also concerns about whether a person who has been vaccinated for COVID-19 can transmit the virus. And some are asking why they need to wait 14 days, before and after being vaccinated for COVID-19 vaccine, if they are scheduled to be given a different vaccine, such as a shingles vaccine.

In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland answers these questions and a variety of other listener questions.

To practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this interview was conducted using video conferencing. The sound and video quality are representative of the technology used. For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Connect with others talking about the pandemic and supporting one another in the COVID-19 support group.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Dr. Poland has served as a consultant for Merck & Co. Inc., Medicago Inc., GlaxoSmithKline plc, Sanofi Pasteur, Emergent BioSolutions Inc., Dynavax Technologies Corp., Genentech Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., Kentucky BioProcessing Inc. and Genevant Sciences Corp., and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. He is a paid scientific adviser for Johnson & Johnson. Honoraria: Elsevier.

 

I had a first dose of Pfizer. Within 45 minutes, one of the side effects I noticed was pain in my tongue. I have allergic asthma and allergies to foods and seasonal allergies and have been reactive in the past to the contrast agent for an MRI with gadolinium that caused swelling of a joint after an injection there. After the dose, the vaccine clinic asked me to go to their emergency room and there I was administered an IV with steroids and antihistamines, and after 20 minutes, the pain in my tongue stopped. They did not see any evidence of facial swelling, but I don't know if this could have been a very early sign which was stopped by the treatment. Can you speak to the risks of anaphylaxis and how a patient can assess that risk based on their past experience? I am unsure about getting the second dose. If I were to only have the single Pfizer dose, would it give me a degree of protection lesser than the 95% efficacy of 2 doses?

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@jenniferhunter

I had a first dose of Pfizer. Within 45 minutes, one of the side effects I noticed was pain in my tongue. I have allergic asthma and allergies to foods and seasonal allergies and have been reactive in the past to the contrast agent for an MRI with gadolinium that caused swelling of a joint after an injection there. After the dose, the vaccine clinic asked me to go to their emergency room and there I was administered an IV with steroids and antihistamines, and after 20 minutes, the pain in my tongue stopped. They did not see any evidence of facial swelling, but I don't know if this could have been a very early sign which was stopped by the treatment. Can you speak to the risks of anaphylaxis and how a patient can assess that risk based on their past experience? I am unsure about getting the second dose. If I were to only have the single Pfizer dose, would it give me a degree of protection lesser than the 95% efficacy of 2 doses?

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some of the ingredients in the Vaccine I am highly allergic to so I will not take the shot myself

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@stolzy

some of the ingredients in the Vaccine I am highly allergic to so I will not take the shot myself

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@stolzy Welcome to connect.A friend where I live has a allergy to the med but took it broke out and itch reaction she had to go to ER for shot of Benedryl and steroids so your wise not to It's unfortunate but it is what it is. She said for her second dose she is taking Benedryl before hand .

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@jenniferhunter

I had a first dose of Pfizer. Within 45 minutes, one of the side effects I noticed was pain in my tongue. I have allergic asthma and allergies to foods and seasonal allergies and have been reactive in the past to the contrast agent for an MRI with gadolinium that caused swelling of a joint after an injection there. After the dose, the vaccine clinic asked me to go to their emergency room and there I was administered an IV with steroids and antihistamines, and after 20 minutes, the pain in my tongue stopped. They did not see any evidence of facial swelling, but I don't know if this could have been a very early sign which was stopped by the treatment. Can you speak to the risks of anaphylaxis and how a patient can assess that risk based on their past experience? I am unsure about getting the second dose. If I were to only have the single Pfizer dose, would it give me a degree of protection lesser than the 95% efficacy of 2 doses?

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I have a reaction to contrast dye and wonder if I should get the first? I carry an epipen.

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@murphy1231213– Good morning. I get nausea with the contrast die and take an antinausea pill a couple of hours before I have the dye. Anyone who has had serious allergic reactions to any medication needs to inform the people who will administer the vaccine. Before getting a reservation you will need to fill out a form online that asks a lot of questions, one of which is will ask you about allergies.

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Can allergic patients get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Caution is advised for anyone who has a history of serious allergic reactions to vaccines or injections in the past. Out of millions of doses administered to date, very few severe side effects, including allergic reactions, have been reported. No long-term adverse effects have been reported.

I will also ask your doctor for his opinion. Do you want to have a vaccine?

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@murphy1231213

I have a reaction to contrast dye and wonder if I should get the first? I carry an epipen.

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@murphy1231213 The decision about a Covid vaccination is something to discuss with your allergist. I only mentioned contrast as an example of my body's reactivity toward foreign substances, but that doesn't imply a direct correlation with problems and the Covid vaccines. I also had a reaction to a flu shot years ago and my shoulder swelled. These are the kinds of things to discuss with your doctor before you schedule the Covid vaccine because they will ask for this kind of information when you go. If in doubt, they will suggest that you not take the shot and consult a board certified allergist first. This link has a table for patients who had severe allergic reactions and some of their prior known allergies. FYI, I had an enlarged papilla on my tongue that likely contributed to why I got tongue muscle pain after the vaccine which was localized on that side. That's a concern because the tongue swells during a severe allergic reaction, so heading to the ER was the right thing to do, but I didn't have a severe reaction. 2 days later, I have no symptoms from the vaccination, and I can feel the sensitive spot on my tongue that is still there and was likely there before I had the shot. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2775646

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Great questions regarding allergic reactions, epipens, contrasts etc. and what precautions you should consider when going for your COVID vaccine. I have submitted the questions to Dr. Poland.

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I have had a painful case of shingles for 6-7 weeks. Is it ok for me to get a coved-19 shot?

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@colleenyoung

Great questions regarding allergic reactions, epipens, contrasts etc. and what precautions you should consider when going for your COVID vaccine. I have submitted the questions to Dr. Poland.

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@colleenyoung– I'm wondering if allergic reactions are being mixed up with immune responses. Is there a way to tell the difference or doesn't it matter?

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Hi @merpreb @osgood @murphy1231213 @stolzy @jenniferhunter: Please see today's podcast with Dr. Gregory Poland.
– Tackling the latest COVID-19 topics https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/podcasts/newsfeed-post/tackling-the-latest-covid-19-topics/

In today's episode he answers questions about
– Immune vs. allergic reaction to the COVID vaccine.
– Antibody tests after having a COVID-19 vaccine.
– Monoclonal antibodies.
– COVID-19 variants.
– Side effects, especially after the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
and more

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