Rapid progress in our understanding of COVID-19 vaccine allergy: A cause for optimism, not hesitancy

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2022 Jul;150(1):12-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2022.03.023. Epub 2022 Apr 7.


Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition and when associated with vaccination, leads to vaccine hesitancy. The concerns around vaccine-related anaphylaxis have become even more important during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic where the COVID-19 vaccines remain one of our most important tools. Although rates of anaphylaxis to COVID-19 vaccines are not significantly different from those to other vaccines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance recommends avoidance of the same COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who had an allergic reaction or are allergic to a COVID-19 vaccine component. Fortunately, our understanding of COVID-19 vaccine allergic reactions has improved dramatically in the past year in large part due to important research efforts from individuals in the allergy community. Initially, researchers published algorithmic approaches using risk stratification and excipient skin testing. However, as our experience and knowledge improved with ongoing research, we have better data showing safety of repeat vaccination despite an initial reaction. We review our progress starting in December 2020 when the Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine in the United States through early 2022, highlighting our success in understanding COVID-19 vaccine reactions.

Keywords: COVID-19; allergy; anaphylaxis; mRNA; polyethylene glycol; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis* / chemically induced
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control
  • COVID-19 Vaccines* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment
  • Vaccination Hesitancy


  • COVID-19 Vaccines