The arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine is a great relief and a genuine cause for celebration.
As with any medication, side effects are possible. We choose medications when the benefits outweigh the risks. Fortunately, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines appear remarkably safe and it is why the FDA has authorized their use in the United States.
Of the side effects reported in the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial, 3 of the 30,000 participants as of December 2020 developed temporary facial swelling. These 3 participants had a history of cosmetic fillers. In the Pfizer vaccine trial, such an outcome has not been reported. Fortunately, in the cases of the 3 Moderna participants, the side effect did not persist. So what does this information mean to us and all of you?
First of all, swelling has been a known low risk of fillers for many years, even before the COVID-19 vaccines. Such uncommon occurrences may be associated with other stressors or inflammation in the body such as recent dental work, illnesses like the flu, or other vaccines. So in this trial, it is certainly possible that the 3 events of localized swelling were due to the interaction between the immune response after vaccination and the filler. Importantly, we do not know how many of the 30,000 participants had filler and did not have a reaction.
If you are a filler patient, we don’t suggest avoiding the vaccine in light of these rare reports. We recommend you consult your doctor about your overall candidacy.
Finally, what should you do if you are concerned about developing one of these rare swelling reactions? Please contact us if you have concerns but remember, rare swelling reactions are not new and those that occurred in the COVID-19 vaccine trial resolved quickly. We would most likely consider some treatment options to expedite resolution for any of you.
We certainly hope this perspective helps clarify what is understood to date. As always, we will continue to exercise the most scrupulous care for all of our patients. And remember, until the CDC advises otherwise even if you’ve been vaccinated, please continue to wear a mask.
The Doctors and Entire Team at Spring Street Dermatology
Read our COVID-19 protocols.
140 Sylvan Ave. Suite 302, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632