Allergic Reactions and Vaccines
Allergic reactions happen when the body’s immune system mistakenly overreacts to a substance. This reaction can be mild or life threatening.
The substance can be a food, pollen, mold spores, dust mites, pet dander and others. These are called allergens. In rare cases, the allergen can be a vaccine.
With mild allergic reactions, the vaccine may cause symptoms such as:
- Bowel problems. This can include issues such as diarrhea or blood in the stool.
- Hives (urticaria). These are raised, itchy red or skin-colored bumps that turn white when pressed.
- Localized symptoms. Redness and swelling can occur at the site of the injection.
- Low blood pressure (hypotension). This can result in dizziness, blurred vision or fainting.
When an allergic reaction causes difficulty breathing, anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, it can be life threatening.
What Makes Vaccines Cause Allergic Reactions?
A number of substances in vaccines, or in the syringe, can cause an allergic reaction. These include:
- Gelatin. This is a stabilizing agent that is derived from cows or pigs
- Egg protein. Vaccines for the seasonal flu and yellow fever are made in eggs.
- Yeast. Hepatitis B vaccines and human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines are made by using small amount of yeast protein.
- Latex. This may be in the vial stoppers or syringe plungers.
- Neomycin. This antibacterial agent may be added in trace amounts to prevent bacterial contamination during the manufacturing process.
- Thimerosal. This also prevents the growth of bacteria in vaccines.
If you or a loved one is allergic to one or more of these substances, you can get the vaccination in an allergist’s office where immediate action can be taken to stop an allergic reaction. With some allergies, to egg protein for example, the vaccine can safely be given with standard precautions.
Anaphylaxis, Anaphylactic Shock and Vaccines
Anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock are severe and life-threatening allergic reactions. Symptoms can begin with itchiness or hives, and progress to:
- Difficulty breathing
If you have these symptoms after a vaccination, or after any another trigger such as a bee sting, eating peanuts or shellfish and some medications, call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room right away.
How We Can Help With Your Allergic Reaction Claim
Allergic reactions caused by a vaccine may be serious, and you might be eligible for compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
Look to us for personalized services, geared to your specific injury and situation. And our attorney who is also a physician can advise you about medical help you may need.