(HealthDay News) — Women and those with a previous history of allergy seem to have an increased risk for allergy to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, according to a study published online in JAMA Network Open.

Christopher Michael Warren, PhD, from the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University in California, and colleagues characterized the immunologic mechanism underlying allergic reactions to US Food and Drug Administration-authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in a case series. Data were included for 22 patients with suspected allergic reactions to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines between Dec. 18, 2020, and Jan. 27, 2021.

The researchers found that 20 of the 22 patients were women; 15 (68%) had clinical allergy history and 17 (77%) met Brighton anaphylaxis criteria. All of the reactions resolved fully. Of the patients who underwent skin prick tests, 0 of 11 tested positive to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate 80 and 1 of 10 tested positive to the same brand of mRNA vaccine used for vaccination. Among these same participants, 10 and 11 of 11 had positive basophil activation test results to PEG and to their administered mRNA vaccine, respectively. No PEG immunoglobulin E (IgE) was detected, but individuals with an allergy to the vaccine had PEG IgG.


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“If confirmed by more systematic future investigations, these findings highlight potential opportunities for patient risk stratification and for alternatives in vaccine manufacturing,” the authors write. “Furthermore, they can inform ongoing mRNA vaccine development, including that of possible COVID-19 booster shots to protect against emerging disease variants.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry; one author reported holding various patents.

Abstract/Full Text