JAN 26, 2021 8:00 AM PST

COVID Vaccine Reactions: You're As Likely to Be Struck by Lightning

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandez

In a period of just over three weeks, over four million people received Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Out of all these people, only 10 developed a severe allergic reaction, says a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At 2.5 adverse events for every 1 million individuals vaccinated, this data points to the vaccine being safe for the general population. "Based on this early monitoring, anaphylaxis after receipt of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine appears to be a rare event," say authors of the CDC report.

For those that did develop adverse symptoms to the treatment, it appears that having allergies to other medications including penicillin may be a risk factor. One individual was known to be allergic to some foods and environmental factors but had no known drug sensitivities. Further investigations are underway to understand the mechanism behind the response to the vaccine.

The report states that all 10 patients received a range of treatments to alleviate the allergic symptoms, from epinephrine shots to emergency hospitalization, but all were reported to have recovered.

The main ingredient of the vaccine in mRNA encoding the viral spike protein. Once synthesized by cells, the body begins to make protective antibodies against the foreign protein, helping to shield against future infections should the individual come into contact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Half a milliliter of the vaccine solution is injected into the arm and for best results, individuals need to get two doses, a month apart. Previous studies found the Moderna vaccine to be 94.1 percent effective in preventing COVID infections after both doses.

According to allergy expert at NYU Langone Health, Purvi Parikh, true allergic reactions to vaccines are exceedingly rare. "Statistically, you're more likely to be hit by lightning than have a true anaphylactic reaction to a vaccine," said Parikh.

As scientists continue to determine what ingredient in the vaccine is causing these rare anaphylactic events, their message to the community is not to get dissuaded from getting the vaccine.

 

 

Sources: LiveScience, Morbidity, and Mortality Weekly Report.

About the Author
  • Tara Fernandez has a PhD in Cell Biology and has spent over a decade uncovering the molecular basis of diseases ranging from skin cancer to obesity and diabetes. She currently works on developing and marketing disruptive new technologies in the biotechnology industry. Her areas of interest include innovation in molecular diagnostics, cell therapies, and immunology. She actively participates in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
You May Also Like
OCT 24, 2020
Immunology
New CRISPR-Based Imaging Tool Is Going to Be HiUGE
OCT 24, 2020
New CRISPR-Based Imaging Tool Is Going to Be HiUGE
A team of researchers at Duke University have developed an imaging technology for tagging structures at a cellular level ...
OCT 28, 2020
Microbiology
Immune Cells Link Gum Disease to Inflammatory DIsorders
OCT 28, 2020
Immune Cells Link Gum Disease to Inflammatory DIsorders
Scientists and clinicians know that oral health and inflammation, which is a part of many diseases, are connected.
NOV 10, 2020
Immunology
Genetic Profiling Reveals How Ebola Puts Immune Cells in a Chokehold
NOV 10, 2020
Genetic Profiling Reveals How Ebola Puts Immune Cells in a Chokehold
In the middle of 2020, yet another deadly Ebola outbreak was reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - the 11th ...
NOV 26, 2020
Immunology
Armed With ImmunoBait, Red Blood Cells Fight Lung Cancers
NOV 26, 2020
Armed With ImmunoBait, Red Blood Cells Fight Lung Cancers
  There’s a new weapon in the battle against lung cancer metastases: red blood cells equipped with nanopartic ...
DEC 02, 2020
Immunology
A Shingles Vaccine for Cancer Patients
DEC 02, 2020
A Shingles Vaccine for Cancer Patients
Receiving a vaccine (usually in the form of an inactivated pathogen) triggers an immune response without the symptoms of ...
DEC 15, 2020
Immunology
The Possibility of Improving an Older Adult's Response to Vaccines
DEC 15, 2020
The Possibility of Improving an Older Adult's Response to Vaccines
A recent study published in the eLife journal examined how they can improve older adults' responses to vaccines ...
Loading Comments...