Should my allergies stop me from having the COVID vaccine?

Living with allergies can be challenging. Our vaccination teams in South West London say many people come forward with questions seeking trusted advice. Chief Pharmacist Sedina Agama (pictured) is urging anyone with concerns to pop into a vaccination centre, where they can talk in confidence with no pressure to get the jab. 

“If you have an allergy and you are worried, which is why you haven’t come forward, come and talk to us. We will review your allergies and help you have the vaccine safest for you.” 

Find out more here with answers to some of our most commonly-asked questions: 

Should I have the COVID vaccine living with allergies? 

If you are living with allergies, it is important to have a discussion with a healthcare professional about exactly what you are allergic to. Your allergies will be compared to the ingredients of the vaccines and a decision will be made as to which would be safest for you to have. If you are unsure about your allergies your case will be referred to a local specialist who will decide whether or not you can safely have a vaccine and which to have. 

What is the best COVID vaccine to have if you have allergies? 

The best COVID vaccine is the one offered to you after your consultation with a healthcare professional at the vaccination centre who will decide on what is safest for you. If you are worried you can take an antihistamine 30 minutes before your vaccine. 

Does having allergies mean I am more at risk of COVID? 

Having allergies does not increase your risk of a COVID infection however having underlying conditions, age, race, and level of exposure to potential people with COVID does. 

If I have a history of anaphylaxis, should I have the vaccine? 

Depending on the allergen you had anaphylaxis to, you may be able to have the vaccine. You CAN have a Pfizer or Moderna booster if: 

  • you have any type of FOOD allergy (including anaphylaxis) 
  • you have had anaphylaxis to WASP or BEE stings 
  • you have an identified allergy to most medicines 
  • a healthcare professional has reviewed the medicines you take particularly if you have taken safely taken any containing Polyethylene glycol (PEG/Macrogol). 

You do need to seek further allergy advice if you have had immediate anaphylaxis to MULTIPLE unrelated medicines that contain Polyethylene glycol (PEG/Macrogol). You can check ingredients of medicines at medicines.org.uk if you are not sure. 

If you normally carry an adrenaline pen, check it is in date and do take it along with you to your appointment. 

Does the type of allergy I have mean I need a particular vaccine? 

Yes, it does. The vaccine you will be offered depends on the information you provide on your allergies to the healthcare professional. They will review the allergies and compare them to the ingredients in the various vaccines and make a decision on the safest one for you. 

Can I go to a normal vaccination centre if I have allergies? 

Yes, you can as all vaccination centres have healthcare professionals trained to discuss allergies and make decisions on the best course of action for patients. You are welcome to pop in just for a chat if you wish to meet our friendly nurses and pharmacists who are happy to answer any questions. Full details of all our clinics can be found here