For many people in the U.S., getting the COVID-19 vaccine has coincided with spring, a time of the year when changing weather flares up seasonal allergies.
As a result, people have wondered if they can keep taking their seasonal allergy medicine when they get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Can people taking seasonal allergy medicine get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, health experts say people taking seasonal allergy medicine can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people get a COVID-19 vaccine “even if they have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.”
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) provides similar advice.
“Allergic reactions to foods, medicines, or bee stings are not a reason to avoid the vaccine,” the ACAAI says.
The ACAAI also says it’s OK for people to take routine seasonal allergy medications the same day as getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
“There is no contraindication for any OTC [over the counter] or prescription allergy or asthma medicine and getting the COVID vaccines,” the organization says.
Jody Tversky, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University whose expertise is in allergy and immunology, also said people can continue to take their seasonal allergy medicine when they get a COVID-19 vaccine.
“The short answer is there shouldn’t be any concern,” Tversky said. “There’s not any reliable or credible evidence at the moment that tells us that allergy medicines present any great risk or any risk that’s measurable whatsoever.”
Tversky said people who aren’t regularly taking seasonal allergy medications shouldn’t do so the day they get vaccinated.
“We don't recommend that people start these medicines if they're not already on them,” he said. “Some people have talked about doing that in anticipation of taking the vaccine, for example. That's not currently something that we recommend.”
The CDC also advises people not to take antihistamines strictly to prevent an allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine.
There are a few allergy conditions in which the CDC says people shouldn’t get a COVID-19 vaccine.
People who are allergic to an ingredient in a specific COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t get that particular vaccine. The CDC has more information on its website about what’s in the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. People who are allergic to an ingredient in a specific vaccine should ask their doctor if they should get a different COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC says.
People who have had an allergic reaction to a previous shot of an mRNA vaccine, which is the type of COVID-19 vaccine that was developed by Pfizer and Moderna, shouldn’t get those vaccines. Individuals who can’t get the second dose of an mRNA vaccine because they had an allergic reaction to the first dose should ask their doctor if they can get a different type of COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC says.
The CDC also says people who have had an immediate allergic reaction, even if it wasn’t severe, to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease should ask their doctor if they should get a COVID-19 vaccine.
There have been rare instances when people suffered anaphylaxis, a type of severe allergic reaction, after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC says anaphylaxis has been reported in about two to five people per 1 million vaccinated in the U.S.
“This kind of allergic reaction almost always occurs within 30 minutes after vaccination,” the CDC says. “Fortunately, vaccination providers have medicines available to effectively and immediately treat patients who experience anaphylaxis following vaccination.”
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