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.
- 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 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.
People who are pregnant or breastfeeding
There’s no data on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant people, as they were excluded from the clinical trials.
Based on current knowledge from the CDC, experts believe that mRNA vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to the pregnant person or the fetus. If pregnant people are part of a group that is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., healthcare personnel), they may choose to be vaccinated.
People who have tested positive
Clinical trials suggest the vaccine is safe for people who’ve already been infected with COVID-19.
The CDC said vaccination should be delayed until the person has recovered from acute illness (if symptoms were present) and they’ve met all criteria to discontinue isolation.
However, for those who’ve received antibody therapy for COVID-19, things are slightly different.
Those antibodies are specific against the COVID-19 virus so… we would anticipate those antibodies would interfere with the immune response stimulated by the vaccine. The rule of thumb, based on the decay curve of those injected antibodies, has been 90 days. So if you’ve received those antibodies, wait 3 months and then get vaccinated.
People with medical conditions
Clinical trials showed that the vaccine was similarly effective and safe among those with some underlying medical conditions as those without those conditions.
People who have underlying medical conditions can receive the vaccine safely if they have no contraindications to vaccinations.
We don’t have data on that for immunocompromised patients or patients with HIV. But we know that immunocompromised patients and HIV infected patients are likely at increased risk for severe COVID, so they still can receive vaccine.
It’s an individual decision for these people, and they can discuss it with their healthcare provider.
There’s no data available on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccination in people with autoimmune conditions, but the CDC said people with autoimmune conditions who have no other contraindications can still receive the vaccine.
Children and adolescents
The Moderna vaccine is authorized for use in people 18 and older, and the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for use in those 16 and older.
At this time, the COVID-19 vaccine has not been studied in children, and they’re not authorized to receive the vaccination.
Trials are expected to begin shortly, with information about safety and efficacy of the vaccination in children expected to be available in mid-summer.