March 1, 2021

As allergists, we know there is a rare risk of anaphylaxis to vaccines.  According to an update from CDC, the reported rate of anaphylaxis is 4.7 cases/million doses following administration of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and 2.5 cases/million following administration of the Moderna vaccine.  These rates will likely decline as more doses are administered and will likely not be significantly different from one another.

As of now, Johnson & Johnson states that 2 trial participants had severe allergic reactions after receipt of their vaccine.

The CDC has issued clear safety recommendations regarding receiving the vaccine for those with a history of allergic reactions. The Center presented this algorithm to assist with decision making regarding who can safely receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals with common allergies to medications, foods, inhalants, insects and latex are no more likely than the general public to have an allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine.  Those with a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g. anaphylaxis) due to any cause should be monitored for 30-minute observation period if vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone with a history of immediate allergic reaction of any severity to any component of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines or to polyethylene glycol or polysorbate should not be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and now Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in the United States.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released guidance for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination. This graphic shows the groups and the timeline of those who can get vaccinated.  We are currently in Phase 1b-Tier 1 of Vaccine Distribution.  The vaccine is available to anyone over age 65, and all people over 50 who also live in a multigenerational household as defined as:

  • People who are 50 and older AND are not able to live independently, who either:
    • Are receiving long-term care from a paid or unpaid caregiver, or
    • Are living with someone who works outside the home
  • People who are 50 and older AND are living with and caring for a grandchild, niece or nephew

This is in addition to populations eligible during phase 1A including health care workers at high risk for COVID-19 infection, first responders, people who live or work in long-term care facilities, and all other workers in health settings who are at risk of COVID-19.

The WA DOH launched an online questionnaire tool called PhaseFinder.   People can use the tool to find out where and when they can be vaccinated. The questionnaire will be on the honor system.

WA COVID Vaccine Finder ( is a volunteer-driven effort to help Washingtonians find appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Click here to learn more about from WA DOH showing videos about the vaccines and list of frequently asked questions.

Please set up a visit with your allergist for further discussion and concerns.