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VERIFY: People with food allergies can safely get the COVID-19 vaccine

Some Americans may need to avoid the COVID-19 vaccine for allergies to pharmaceuticals, those with food allergies have the green light to get the shot.

WASHINGTON — The Verify team works hard to get the facts out to our readers when you have important questions about COVID-19. We've received several emails, messages and comments asking about vaccine safety for specific communities.

During a live VERIFY panel with COVID-19 experts, we asked our experts a question we see often: do people with food allergies need to be worried about getting any of the COVID-19 vaccines?

  • Princess says, "I am allergic to egg and can't take the flu shot. Am I cleared to get vaccine?"
  • Crystal says, "I have a shellfish allergy and allergic to some fruits such as bananas. Does that increase the probability of an allergic reaction to the COVID vaccine?"
  • Jennifer says, "What should I expect with my first COVID shot tomorrow? I am allergic to shellfish and some medications...should I be worried?"

SOURCES:

  • Dr. Linda Nabha, Infectious Diseases Expert with the University of Pittsburgh
  • Dr. Namandje Bumpus, Professor and Director of the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University
  • And the CDC's allergy information page

ANSWER:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a fact sheet on its website with all the currently known information about allergies and vaccines.

They recommend "that people get vaccinated even if they have a history of severe allergic reactions NOT related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies.”

Dr. Namandje Bumpus and Dr. Linda Nabha both agree. They told us that food allergies are not contraindicated with the vaccine, and say there is no reason a shellfish, egg, milk, etc. allergy should keep you from getting your COVID-19 vaccination.

According to the CDC website and our experts, you don't need to worry about allergies to food when considering vaccination. However, if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccines, like polyethylene gylcol (PEG) or polysorbate, the CDC suggests consulting with a doctor before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 

READ: Ingredient lists for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines.