Although extremely rare, some people have experienced severe allergic reactions—also known as anaphylaxis—after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers an allergic reaction severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen© or if they must go to the hospital.
Are you having an allergic reaction?
If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911.
If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you should not get that specific vaccine. If you have had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable therapies, you should 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.
People with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as allergies to food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex—may still get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions, or who might have milder allergies to vaccines (no anaphylaxis)—may also still get vaccinated.
If you have a severe allergic reaction after getting the first shot, you should not get the second shot. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist in allergies and immunology to provide more care or advice.
Safeguards are in place
- All people who get a COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored on-site. People with a history of severe allergic reactions should be monitored for 30 minutes after getting the vaccine. All other people should be monitored for 15 minutes after getting the vaccine.
- Vaccination providers should have appropriate medications and equipment—such as epinephrine, antihistamines, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and timing devices to check your pulse—at all COVID-19 vaccination sites.
- If you experience a severe allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, vaccination providers should provide rapid care and call for emergency medical services. You should continue to be monitored in a medical facility for at least several hours.
Most side effects are normal
Side effects are signs that your body is building protection. Side effects may have a short-term effect on your ability to do daily activities and should go away in a few days. Learn more about normal side effects and tips to reduce pain or discomfort.
Monitoring reports of severe allergic reactions
If someone has a severe allergic reaction after getting vaccinated, their vaccination provider will send a report to the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is the national system that collects reports from health care professionals, vaccine manufacturers, and the public about adverse events that happen after vaccination. Reports of adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected, or have unusual patterns are followed up with specific studies.