Last fall, I started graduate school to pursue my Master’s in Public Health (MPH) degree. Although it will take time, I’m determined to not give up. I hope to learn how to be more effective in bringing food allergy and anaphylaxis awareness and education into the public health space.
My last project was to create a two page Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Information Sheet for a specific population and region in the United States related to COVID-19. I chose COVID-19 Vaccines and Young Adults in NY with Allergy Concerns.
I’m sharing it here, hoping it helps someone with food allergies, who may be experiencing COVID-19 vaccine hesitency. It’s evidence based information, last updated 4/14/21, and includes resources.
As always, please discuss any individual medical concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccines with your board certified allergist and immunologist. This information sheet is for general knowledge purposes only.
Another resource is Allergic Living Magazine’s article, helping readers understand the difference between side effects and an acute allergic reaction. The CDC also has a helpful resource, in multiple languages, on what to expect after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
When getting vaccinated, please read all of the instructions given to you when you register for your vaccine. As someone who volunteers as a vaccinator for our Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) here are some tips on how to prepare for your vaccination:
- Wear a loose fitting short sleeve or sleeveless shirt. The vaccine is given in the upper arm. This makes getting the vaccine much easier for you and the vaccinator. Bring a sweater or sweatshirt to wear over your t-shirt, if chilly.
- Before leaving home, drink some water and have a snack or something (safe for your food allergies) to eat.
- Bring something to distract yourself while you wait (15-30 min) after getting vaccinated. Listening to music on headphones, a deep breathing or relaxation app on your phone, or reading a book are ways to help pass the time and encourage relaxation.
- If prescribed, bring your two epinephrine auto-injectors with you. For people with food allergies, this is good practice whenever leaving home!
- Remember, it takes two weeks after getting your second vaccine to be “fully vaccinated.” We still maintain all of the public health measures recommend by the CDC. Read here for more information.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) started a study to further investigate these rare allergic reactions to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. For anyone interested, enrollment is open at several locations.
I realize this is a difficult time for anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 vaccine hesitency. I urge you to speak with your trusted board certified allergist and immunologist about any concerns you have, helping you make your best informed decision.
Getting vaccinated is important to prevent deaths and stop the spread of this disease. We get vaccinated to protect ourselves, the ones we love, and our communities from the serious consequences of COVID-19.