The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) has published frequently asked questions based on the current knowledge regarding COVID-19 vaccines. It was updated in April 2021.
Overall, they find “no evidence that people with allergy and other immune system disorders are at any greater risk of COVID-19 vaccine allergy than the general population”.
Pfizer/BioNTech COMIRNATY mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine is the only one approved for use in New Zealand at this time. This has been provisionally approved by Medsafe for people 16 years and older. This vaccine is stored at -60 to -90°C, but can be stored at ‑ 20±5°C for up to two weeks (even during transportation) within the six-month shelf life.
Vaccine ingredients are listed - Click here
New Zealand Ministry of Health - Click here
The only substance identified in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that is known to cause allergic reactions, is Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) also known as macrogol.
ASCIA’s FAQ states:
- Different forms of PEG are found in tablets, laxatives, hand sanitiser gels, injectable corticosteroids and progesterone, cosmetics and bathroom products.
- PEG can cause contact dermatitis in some people.
- Allergic reactions to PEG are rare, but it is recognised as a hidden allergen that can trigger anaphylaxis to multiple classes of drugs.
- It is uncertain if PEG or another ingredient may be the cause of reported vaccine anaphylaxis.
- The estimated risk of anaphylaxis to the COVID-19 vaccine is extremely low, at around one in 100,000 doses.
Allergy New Zealand recommends anyone with PEG allergy discuss their COVID-19 vaccine options with their GP or specialist.
To read the full FAQ - Click here
Allergy Today May 2021