Millions of Americans have already availed themselves to one of the newly approved COVID-19 vaccines. Multiples more are eager to get their turn. There are many, however, who say they won’t get the shot because the vaccines were “rushed through” the approval process. While that’s not true—studies were prioritized due to the urgent nature of the pandemic—too many people are afraid that they’re putting themselves at unreasonable risk for a bad reaction, with anaphylaxis being the main concern. While it’s true that anaphylaxis can occur, the perceived threat is greatly exaggerated, as spelled out in a newly published article from JAMA Network. Shortly after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were rolled out, it looked like related cases of anaphylaxis were rare—11.1 cases per million doses or the Pfizer vaccine, and 2.5 cases per million for Moderna’s. Since then, however, further research has found that incidence is even lower for the Pfizer shot (4.7 cases/million), while data on the Moderna vaccine remain at 2.5 per million. That being the case, the authors of the JAMA Network article concluded that “the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risk of anaphylaxis, which is treatable.” Due to the fact that anaphylaxis can occur, and is life-threatening, they also advise that patients with a history of reaction to any vaccine be observed and given epinephrine if they do develop anaphylaxis.
Fear of Anaphylaxis May Be Scaring Patients Off the COVID-19 Vaccine. Should It?