6. If You’re Allergic to Any of the Vaccine Components
You shouldn’t take the vaccine if you have a true allergy to any of the components of the vaccine, according to Dr. Nachman.
The vaccine ingredients for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are on the FDA website and on their corresponding company websites. “If one of those components is something you truly have an allergy to, you should not be taking the vaccine,” Dr. Nachman says. (Moderna vs. Pfizer: here’s what you should know.)
If you are allergic to any ingredients in the vaccine, avoid it until other alternatives are on the market, says Dr. Parikh.
A very tiny group—fewer than 20 people so far—had an anaphylactic reaction to the first dose, Dr. Nachman says; they should definitely skip the second round, she says.
If you have had a severe allergic reaction to other types of vaccinations, discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with your doctor first. People with allergies unrelated to vaccines—such as pet or food allergies—can still get the vaccine. After receiving the vaccine, people are under observation for 15 minutes or double that amount if you have a history of severe allergic reactions, according to the CDC.
People should know that it’s very rare in general to react to the vaccine, especially if you have never reacted before, according to Dr. Parikh. “The stats overall for vaccine allergies are 1 in 1.3 million,” Dr. Parikh says. “You’re more likely to be hit by lightning.” (Here are the things allergists won’t tell you.)
5. If You Currently Have COVID-19 or Have Been Exposed to COVID-19
People who currently have COVID-19 should not get the vaccine until they recover. Instead, wait until after you meet the CDC criteria to discontinue isolation or quarantine. You may also want to delay your vaccination until 90 days after recovering, since current evidence suggests reinfection is uncommon after that amount of time, per the CDC.
The vaccine is unlikely to be effective in preventing disease following exposure to COVID-19, so don’t risk the health of other people by trying to get vaccinated if you are or may be infected. (Here are the coronavirus symptoms you should watch for.)
4. If You Received Antibodies
If you received COVID-19 antibodies, wait 90 days before vaccination as a precaution to avoid any interference with immune responses, according to the CDC. (Here’s what you need to know about coronavirus antibody.)