Infectious Disease

Minor skin reactions to Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines

April 23, 2021

1 min read

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Healio Psoriasis Disease

Disclosure:
Freeman reports that she is part of the American Academy of Dermatology’s ad hoc task force COVID-19 and author of COVID-19 dermatology for UpToDate. In the study you will find all relevant financial information from all other authors.

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Skin reactions to the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, according to one study, were mostly minor and self-limiting and should not discourage people from receiving a vaccine.

Two emergency mRNA vaccines have been approved by the FDA: Pfizer / BioNTech (BNT162b2) and Moderna (mRNA-1273).

Covid vaccination

Skin reactions to the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines were mostly minor and self-limiting and should not discourage people from receiving a vaccine.

Local injection site reactions have been reported for both vaccines during clinical trials.

Esther EE Freeman

The registry-based study evaluated the morphology of skin reactions, the timing and duration of the reactions and the treatments using an international registry of skin manifestations after SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations.

“The most commonly reported skin reactions in the vaccine were delayed local reactions that generally started 7 to 8 days after vaccination in the vaccinated arm,” said the study’s author Esther EE Freeman, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, said Healio. “These are generally mild and self-limiting and should not be confused with cellulite.”

One or more skin reactions were reported in 414 subjects, with 83% of these reactions occurring in people who received the Moderna vaccine and 17% in those who received the Pfizer vaccine. Information on both vaccine doses was available in 180 (43%) of the 414 cases.

A response after the first dose but not the second dose was reported in 38 subjects (21%) and a response after the second dose in only 113 subjects (63%). A response to both doses occurred in 29 subjects (16%).

Those who received the Moderna vaccine were more likely to have a delayed response from the large local arm.

No anaphylaxis or serious adverse events were reported.

Topical corticosteroids, oral antihistamines, and / or pain relievers were helpful in patients with a response, with a median resolution of 3 to 4 days.

“Overall, these data are comforting that patients who develop skin reactions to the first COVID-19 vaccine may not necessarily have skin reactions to the second,” Freeman said. “We don’t recommend choosing one COVID-19 vaccine over another. We saw delayed large local reactions with Moderna, but for all other skin reactions they were fairly evenly divided between the two vaccines. Which vaccine to get first should be the vaccine you choose. The real world efficacy data of all the different COVID-19 vaccines (currently in use in the US) have been excellent. “

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