Vaccination time, but do I go for it?

Check those labels….

The coronavirus pandemic is still going strong sadly but there has been a development in the vaccine scene.

In the UK the vaccines have been given the go ahead and they have been offered to several groups of people so far, including the group I fall under the health and social care workers.

Thats all well, but you may be asking yourself why a food allergy blog is writing about the vaccine, well like all medications the vaccine can come with some side effects.

These side effect can interact with pre-existing conditions you may have, including food allergies.

Like we do with any new food and drinks we allergy sufferes want to eat, we need to do the same with our medications, we need to research what is in them

Without doing this we may be putting ourselves at risk of becoming unwell.

The problem is, a vaccine is not like a tin of beans. You cant just walk up to it in a store, pick it up and check its label

So how do I know what is in it….

Currently there are 3 vaccines licenced by the Medications and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) that can be used in the UK:

The most important thing you need to know is that you have a choice, it is not mandatory to have the vaccine when you are offered it. The choice is yours.

Alot of people are feeling very pressured to have the vaccine and are feeling like their choice to refused will be frowned upon.

It won’t and you need to make this decision for yourself.

But to make that choice you need to know what you are putting into you.

The first thing you need do when starting your research is make sure you are getting your infomation from reputable sources.

Don’t just go Googling ‘Covid vaccine ingredients’ as you will be overloaded with tosh and none sence.

You need to be seeking your infomation from sites like:

You will also need to know what vaccine you are being offered, different vaccines may cause different side effects and contain different ingredients. If you have been offered a vaccine but are unsure of which one, contact the team who has offered it to you and ask which vaccine are providing.

The concern….

When the vaccines had been given the all clear by the MHRA to start being used there was several concerns floating around linked to food allergies and serious side effects from the vaccines.

Initially the concern was that anyone who had a food allergy may have a more serious reaction and/or side effects to the Covid vaccines.

This concern however disappeared quickly and was changed to a concern for those who have suffered severe allergic reactions to foods in the past, as in an anaphylaxis responces, as it was thought they may have a simular responce to the covid vaccinations.

This was a huge worry within the allergy community and a major moral dilema for some people.

GP’s were adviced that patients who have suffered anaphylaxis reaction in the past should not be offered the vaccine. However the MHRA have now retracted that advice and have stated that the only people who should not have the vaccine is those who are known to have allergic reactions to any of the ingredents.

The Green Book chapter on Covid-19 vaccine has been amended to reflect this new infomation:

“A very small number of individuals have experienced anaphylaxis when vaccinated with the
Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. Following close surveillance of the initial roll-out, the MHRA has
advised that individuals with a history of anaphylaxis to food, an identified drug or vaccine,
or an insect sting can receive any COVID-19 vaccine, as long as they are not known to be
allergic to any component (excipient) of the vaccine. All recipients of the Pfizer BioNTech
COVID-19 vaccine should kept for observation and monitored for a minimum of 15
minutes. Facilities for management of anaphylaxis should be available at all vaccination

My experience….

The vaccine programme in the UK is being rolled out to protect those that are classed as most vunerable or most at risk first.

Image result for covid vaccine groups

As a mental health nurse I was classed as group 2, so I was offered the vaccine 2nd round.

I was offered this through work and was informed that I would be going to a vaccination center in Liverpool, at that time I didn’t know which vaccine I would be receiving.

I was infomred by a colleague that we were being offered the Pfizer vaccine.

This was the vaccine the food allergy concerns were about, so I was worried.

However, by time my appointment had arrived I was aware it was only those with severe allergic reactions that were being refused.

I was still unsure whether to have it. One due to my own anxieties around vaccines and two, even though it was ok for those with none severe food allergies to have it the worry was still present.

I had it.

I was infomed prior to my vaccine of the potential side effects and I had also completed my own research into the ingredents and potential side effects of the Pfizer vaccine.

If you choose to go for your vaccine you will be given a leaflet which contains infomation about your vaccine including ingredents and side effects:

I’m thankful to report I experianced no major side effects, only mild effects that lasted a few days.

These included:

  • Sore arm at the injection site
  • Achey arm
  • Tiredness
  • A headach, this was only for 1 day
  • Swollen glands and a sore throat
  • A general feeling of being a bit under the weather

I was still able to go to work with these side effects, I just took some painkillers for my headache.

The one symptom I did experiance but isnt listed in the leaflet is stomach aches and changes in my bowel habit. For a few days after the vaccine my belly hurt as if I had eaten something I shouldn’t have.

Less inflamed than if I had eaten gluten, more upset tummy like the reaction I have to dairy.

Now whether this was just coincidental or a side effect I’m not sure. However I will need vaccine number 2 so it will be interesting to see how I react after that.

I shall keep you guys informed.

You can report any suspected side effect from a medication, inluding the Covd vaccines to the Yellow Card saftey scheme.

The choice is yours….

What ever you decided to do regarding the vaccine it is your choice and only that.

If you do decided to have it, please do some reasearch beforehand.

Make sure you find out what vaccine you are having, check the ingredients and side effects.

If you have any concerns contact a health care proffesional who can support you with your issues.

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