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PUBLIC PAGE
Feb 10 8:00am

Answering questions about COVID-19 vaccines

By Jennifer O'Hara, @jenohara

a-Mayo-Clinic-employee-in-Florida-a-white-woman-wearing-PPE-preparing-to-administer-the-COVID-19-vaccine-examining-the-syringe-and-needle-16x9-1-2048x1152

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.

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?

COMMENT
@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

COMMENT
@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 .

COMMENT
@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.

COMMENT

@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.

COVID-19 vaccine myths debunked – Mayo Clinic Health System
http://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org › featured-topic › co…
Dec 8, 2020 — You've likely heard about the new COVID-19 vaccines, but what should you believe? … COVID-19 vaccines on social media or from the people in your life. … Fact: There are short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that …

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?

COMMENT
@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

COMMENT

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.

COMMENT

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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Thank you!

COMMENT
@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?

COMMENT

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

COMMENT
@lioness

@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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I have active asthma and one of the side effects is tightness in the chest so this is very big concern for me and no one I ask has never given me direct answer on that so I presuming it is not safe

COMMENT

I have so appreciated Dr. Poland's weekly podcasts and have gained trusted information from each one. Thank you, Dr. Poland, and a thank you to Dr. Gazelka as well.
Several days after my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, I developed a mild rash below the injection site I have read that "Covid arm" is usually seen after the first dose of the Moderna vaccine, but there have been cases reported after the Pfizer vaccine. I am not concerned, but only mention it as a point of interest. I am immunocompromised, so hopefully this is a sign that I am acquiring a certain level of immunity to Covid-19.

COMMENT
@stolzy

I have active asthma and one of the side effects is tightness in the chest so this is very big concern for me and no one I ask has never given me direct answer on that so I presuming it is not safe

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@stolzy I also have reactive asthma that is allergic asthma or e-asthma named for the eosinophils that are the white blood cells involved in an allergic reaction in the lungs. I had a first dose of Pfizer Covid vaccine. I also have tightness in my chest not just from asthma, but from a physical problem of muscle and fascia tightness related to thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) which I am working on in physical therapy. I have had a repetitive pattern of trapping phlegm because of the tightness on one side of my chest that then progresses into a bacterial infection, and every once in a while I have to treat with an antibiotic. Here is my experience after the Covid vaccine. My first symptoms were pain at the injection site, then pain in my neck where the jaw connects on that same side, headache and feeling nauseated and that happened within 30 minutes. At 45 minutes, I had some pain in my tongue muscle on the right side in back near my molars. Because that was a concern as possible allergic reaction for tongue swelling, I went to the ER and they administered an IV with the anti-histamines Benadryl, and Famotidine with Prednisone, a steroid. Within 20 minutes, there was no tongue pain and I was discharged. I'm waiting for an appointment to discuss this with my allergist. I felt OK the next day and was breathing fine, but on Day 2 after the shot when those meds wore off, my asthma was worse and my face was a little puffy. I used my steroid asthma inhaler Qvar, and my breathing got better and I also took an antihistamine. Prior to taking the antihistamine, I had some tingling in my face presumably from the slight swelling, and that went away from the anti-histamine. I used the inhaler for about 3 days post injection. I had also had a sinus infection starting at about 4 days after the vaccination, and I am currently treating that. What I learned to do came from presurgical precautions to avoid staff infections when the recommendation was to use the anti-bacterial ointment Bactroban (Mupiroicin generic) by putting it inside my nostrils. It turned out that helped me when I would get these lung issues and my doctor gave me a prescription for the ointment. After 3 days, I didn't have any more symptoms from the shot, and probably some of the breathing issues were due to the oncoming sinus/respiratory infection and not just the vaccine. I didn't have a serous allergic reaction. I am told that usually happens within minutes and the data for the patients who have had anaphylaxis shows that happened within 10 or 15 minutes. I did have minor face swelling and airway swelling, but that was easily controlled with my steroid inhaler, and my arm was sore for 3 days. I suggest discuss your concerns with your allergist, and have antihistamines and a steroid inhaler available if the need arises. I also had a prescription for oral Prednisone from the ER, but couldn't fill it because the pharmacy was closed, and on Day 2, I felt OK, so I didn't fill it. My inhaler was doing the job. Asthma and other lung disease is a big risk factor if you get a Covid infection and would increase the risk of it being a serious problem, so it is best to ask your doctor who treats your asthma about your benefit or risk of the vaccination..

COMMENT
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