If I Have Allergic reactions, Ought to I Get the Coronavirus Vaccine? An Professional Solutions This and Different Questions
By Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University
Editor’s note: With coronavirus vaccination in progress, you may have questions about what this means for you and your family. If you do, send them to The Conversation and we will find a doctor or researcher to answer them. Here Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a public health pediatrician whose research uncovered the Flint, Michigan water crisis, questions about the vaccine and allergies, and when children may be able to get the vaccine.
If I have allergies, should I still get the vaccine?
If you have a history of allergies to food, pets, insects, or other things, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends continuing vaccination with an observation period. If you have a history of severe allergic reaction or what is known as anaphylaxis to another vaccine or injectable therapy, your doctor may perform a risk assessment, postpone vaccination or continue and monitor you after vaccination. The only reason to avoid vaccination is if you have a severe allergic reaction to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC has specific recommendations for post-vaccine observation.
How will adverse events be tracked when the vaccine is delivered to a wider population?
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration encourage the public to report potential adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This national system collects this data to look for unexpected adverse events that occur more often than expected or that have unusual patterns of occurrence. Anyone who has experienced an adverse event should report it to the system.
Reporting an adverse event is a critical step in ensuring safety and in helping the CDC monitor vaccines. Safety is a top priority, and scientists and public health officials need to know about side effects.
In most cases, an adverse event is different from a typical vaccine side effect. Vaccines can cause side effects such as pain at the injection site or redness. Adverse events are more serious and can sometimes be life threatening. If you are not sure if you experienced a side effect or an adverse event, you can still report the event.
The participants receive an information sheet when they are vaccinated. Healthcare providers who vaccinate people must report certain adverse events to VAERS after vaccination. Additionally, as per the provisions of the Emergency Authorization, health care providers must follow any revised safety reporting requirements that may arise.
The CDC is also implementing a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe, which can be used to check people’s health after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. When you receive your vaccine you should also receive an information sheet on how to register with v-safe. When you sign up, you will receive regular text messages directing you to surveys where you can report any problems or side effects you have after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
When could children under 16 be vaccinated?
It will likely take several months. The currently-approved Pfizer vaccine and the soon-to-be-approved Moderna vaccine do not apply to children. More research and clinical trials need to be done to include younger children in COVID-19 vaccine studies.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pfizer has enrolled children up to the age of 12 and submitted an application for emergency use for vaccinations up to the age of 16 to start a similar study.
In the UK, AstraZeneca has approval to enroll children aged 5 to 12 years in clinical trials. However, the drug company has not yet enrolled children in studies in the United States
Mona Hanna-Attisha, Professor of Medicine at Michigan State University
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