Your Covid-19 questions answered

Should I take the second jab of the vaccine if I’ve had a severe allergic reaction to the first?

26 October 2021 - 07:00
The NICD advises against taking the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab if you experienced a severe allergic reaction to the first jab. File photo.
The NICD advises against taking the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab if you experienced a severe allergic reaction to the first jab. File photo.
Image: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) advised people who experience allergic reactions to the first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine not to go for their second jab, and instead consult their healthcare providers for further advice. 

The institute said it's normal to get symptoms after vaccination. This response means the immune system is responding to the vaccine in a way that will protect against the virus.

It added that some people have shown no side-effects to the vaccine, but this does not mean they are less protected.

According to the CDC in the US, causes of a severe allergic reaction can include a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, or a generalised rash or hives. A person with a severe allergic reaction requires treatment with epinephrine or hospital admission.

“An immediate allergic reaction happens within four hours of getting vaccinated and may include symptoms such as hives, swelling, and wheezing (respiratory distress). Your doctor may refer you to a specialist in allergies and immunology to provide more care or advice,” it said. 

The National Health Services (NHS) in the UK said allergic reactions to the vaccine are a rare occurrence. 

If you do have a reaction, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

“If you have a serious allergic reaction to the first dose of a vaccine, you should not have the same vaccine for your second dose.” 


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