I’ve had reactions to a vaccine before. Is it safe for me to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Question: 

I’ve had reactions to a vaccine before. Is it safe for me to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Answer: 

Nearly everyone will be able to safely receive the vaccine, although a very small number of people may need to avoid vaccination due to severe allergies to parts of the vaccine. While the vaccine manufacturers identify a number of precautions because these populations were not included in the original vaccine trials, in the context of ongoing risk of COVID-19, most individuals can be offered vaccination.

If you’ve had a reaction to a specific vaccine, try looking at the ingredient list and see if any of the same ingredients are in the COVID-19 vaccine. Most importantly, make sure that your healthcare provider knows about all of your allergies before you get any vaccine.

There are very few reasons someone should not get the COVID-19 vaccine. You should not get the vaccine if you:

  • Have serious allergies to any of the ingredients in the vaccines. An ingredient in the vaccines that has been associated with a rare but serious allergy (anaphylaxis) is polyethylene glycol (PEG). PEG can be found in some cosmetics, skin care products, laxatives, some processed foods and drinks and other products.
  • Have had a life-threatening reaction to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or to any part of the vaccine.
  • Talk to your health care provider if you have had an anaphylactic reaction but do not know the cause.
Date last updated: 
Thursday, Feb 11, 2021
Date last reviewed: 
Friday, Jan 29, 2021