Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Assessment of Allergic and Anaphylactic Reactions to mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines With Confirmatory Testing in a US Regional Health System


Warren, Christopher Michael; Snow, Theo Thomas; Lee, Alexandra S; Shah, Mihir Mukesh; Heider, Anja; et al; Akdis, Cezmi (2021). Assessment of Allergic and Anaphylactic Reactions to mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines With Confirmatory Testing in a US Regional Health System. JAMA Network Open, 4(9):e2125524.

Abstract

Importance: As of May 2021, more than 32 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States, resulting in more than 615 000 deaths. Anaphylactic reactions associated with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been reported.

Objective: To characterize the immunologic mechanisms underlying allergic reactions to these vaccines.

Design, setting, and participants: This case series included 22 patients with suspected allergic reactions to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines between December 18, 2020, and January 27, 2021, at a large regional health care network. Participants were individuals who received at least 1 of the following International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision anaphylaxis codes: T78.2XXA, T80.52XA, T78.2XXD, or E949.9, with documentation of COVID-19 vaccination. Suspected allergy cases were identified and invited for follow-up allergy testing.

Exposures: FDA-authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

Main outcomes and measures: Allergic reactions were graded using standard definitions, including Brighton criteria. Skin prick testing was conducted to polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polysorbate 80 (P80). Histamine (1 mg/mL) and filtered saline (negative control) were used for internal validation. Basophil activation testing after stimulation for 30 minutes at 37 °C was also conducted. Concentrations of immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgE antibodies to PEG were obtained to determine possible mechanisms.

Results: Of 22 patients (20 [91%] women; mean [SD] age, 40.9 [10.3] years; 15 [68%] with clinical allergy history), 17 (77%) met Brighton anaphylaxis criteria. All reactions fully resolved. Of patients who underwent skin prick tests, 0 of 11 tested positive to PEG, 0 of 11 tested positive to P80, and 1 of 10 (10%) tested positive to the same brand of mRNA vaccine used to vaccinate that individual. Among these same participants, 10 of 11 (91%) had positive basophil activation test results to PEG and 11 of 11 (100%) had positive basophil activation test results to their administered mRNA vaccine. No PEG IgE was detected; instead, PEG IgG was found in tested individuals who had an allergy to the vaccine.

Conclusions and relevance: Based on this case series, women and those with a history of allergic reactions appear at have an elevated risk of mRNA vaccine allergy. Immunological testing suggests non-IgE-mediated immune responses to PEG may be responsible in most individuals.

Abstract

Importance: As of May 2021, more than 32 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States, resulting in more than 615 000 deaths. Anaphylactic reactions associated with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have been reported.

Objective: To characterize the immunologic mechanisms underlying allergic reactions to these vaccines.

Design, setting, and participants: This case series included 22 patients with suspected allergic reactions to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines between December 18, 2020, and January 27, 2021, at a large regional health care network. Participants were individuals who received at least 1 of the following International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision anaphylaxis codes: T78.2XXA, T80.52XA, T78.2XXD, or E949.9, with documentation of COVID-19 vaccination. Suspected allergy cases were identified and invited for follow-up allergy testing.

Exposures: FDA-authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

Main outcomes and measures: Allergic reactions were graded using standard definitions, including Brighton criteria. Skin prick testing was conducted to polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polysorbate 80 (P80). Histamine (1 mg/mL) and filtered saline (negative control) were used for internal validation. Basophil activation testing after stimulation for 30 minutes at 37 °C was also conducted. Concentrations of immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgE antibodies to PEG were obtained to determine possible mechanisms.

Results: Of 22 patients (20 [91%] women; mean [SD] age, 40.9 [10.3] years; 15 [68%] with clinical allergy history), 17 (77%) met Brighton anaphylaxis criteria. All reactions fully resolved. Of patients who underwent skin prick tests, 0 of 11 tested positive to PEG, 0 of 11 tested positive to P80, and 1 of 10 (10%) tested positive to the same brand of mRNA vaccine used to vaccinate that individual. Among these same participants, 10 of 11 (91%) had positive basophil activation test results to PEG and 11 of 11 (100%) had positive basophil activation test results to their administered mRNA vaccine. No PEG IgE was detected; instead, PEG IgG was found in tested individuals who had an allergy to the vaccine.

Conclusions and relevance: Based on this case series, women and those with a history of allergic reactions appear at have an elevated risk of mRNA vaccine allergy. Immunological testing suggests non-IgE-mediated immune responses to PEG may be responsible in most individuals.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
80 citations in Web of Science®
87 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

17 downloads since deposited on 21 Jan 2022
3 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > General Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Medicine
Language:English
Date:17 September 2021
Deposited On:21 Jan 2022 12:18
Last Modified:27 May 2024 01:50
Publisher:American Medical Association (AMA)
ISSN:2574-3805
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.25524
PubMed ID:34533570
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)