Who Can and Can’t Safely Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

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MANEND NEWS, The initial wave of COVID-19 vaccine doses are being administered across the United States.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorizationTrusted Source for the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Both vaccines are made up of 2 doses given intramuscularly.

The Pfizer vaccine is given 21 days apart, while the Moderna vaccine is administered 28 days apart.

Here’s what you need to know about who’s getting vaccinated first and who can safely get the COVID-19 inoculation.

Is the vaccine safe?

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, said both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are safe.

“Scientifically, these vaccines have been rigorously examined by now two external, tough committees, people not associated with the companies or the government,” Schaffner told Healthline. “And they have passed both committees with flying colors.”

Dr. Anne Liu, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care in California, said there’s no reason to worry about any potential long-term side effects from the vaccination.

“People who are worried about long-term side effects may somewhat misunderstand how vaccines work. This is not something that stays in your body very long, and the immune response that is generated is fairly quick and should settle down fairly quickly over several weeks,” Liu told Healthline.

“It’s not like medications that can accumulate in your body. It’s not something that changes anything about your makeup so you can have effects from it later on,” she said.

Experts said there’s no real difference in terms of safety or efficacy between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

“To my assessment, they look very similar both in terms of safety and in terms of effectiveness, so I’m not recommending any preference for one over another,” Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California Davis, told Healthline.

For the large majority of people, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe.

But there are some groups who may need to take into account additional considerations when deciding whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine. These include:

  • people with allergies
  • people who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19
  • people with underlying medical conditions
  • children and adolescents

People with allergies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received early reportsTrusted Source that some people have experienced severe allergic reactions after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There have been a few patients who have had allergic reactions and […] that is always very concerning. It doesn’t appear to be very common but, of course, anaphylaxis is very scary and it is life threatening, so it is a concern,” Blumberg told Healthline.

The CDC advises that people who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine to not get inoculated.

People who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to other types of vaccines or injectable therapies should talk with their doctor about what would be best.

Those with a history of severe allergic reactions that aren’t related to vaccinations (food, venom, pets, latex) can still get vaccinated.

If a person has a severe allergic reaction to the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC advises them not to get the second shot.

Those without a history of severe allergic reactions will be observed for 15 minutes following vaccination. The CDC advises those with a history of severe allergic reactions to be observed for double that amount of time.

“If you do have a history of noteworthy allergic reactions in the past, we’re going to watch you for a half hour after you receive the vaccine, so I think things are in hand,” Schaffner said.

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