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Children with a History of Allergic Reactions to First Dose of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Can Safely Receive Second Dose

AAAAI News Release

July 13, 2022

April Presnell, Media & Member Communications Manager
(414) 272-6071

Children with a history of polyethylene glycol or polysorbate allergy can also receive the vaccine, according to a new article published in an official journal of the AAAAI.

Milwaukee, WI – Previous evidence has demonstrated the safety of a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech® SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine in adults with suspected reactions to their first dose. Researchers have now discovered similar findings in children, which were published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice (JACI: In Practice), an official journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

“Now that children as young as six months can be vaccinated, it is incredibly important that the public is aware that children can safely receive the Pfizer vaccine, even after a suspected allergic reaction or a suspected allergy to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate,” said Joel P. Brooks, DO, MPH, corresponding author from Children’s National Hospital.

A specialized vaccine clinic set out to evaluate children with a suspected allergic reaction to the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech® SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine, as well as children with suspected PEG/polysorbate allergy. Nine children were evaluated after demonstrating an allergic reaction to the first dose of the vaccine. Three children met the criteria for anaphylaxis while six reported less severe reactions. Eight of the nine children went on to receive the second dose without any pre-medications, and all nine received the second dose of the vaccine with minimal or no symptoms.

Four children with histories of potential PEG/polysorbate reactions were also evaluated. All four children were able to tolerate polyethylene glycol 3350 laxative without serious issues. Three children elected to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech® SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine and were able to tolerate their first and second doses without experiencing any allergic symptoms.

“Any child who experiences potential anaphylaxis following vaccination should absolutely be evaluated,” Dr. Brooks added. “The benefits and risks must be weighed carefully when it comes to a second dose. However, we have demonstrated that for this study, most of the initial allergic reactions did not meet the criteria of anaphylaxis and our participants were able to tolerate a second dose of the vaccine.”

 If you are concerned about allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines, a board certified allergist can assess and provide guidance regarding safe administration. You can learn more about COVID-19 on the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website,

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) is the leading membership organization of more than 7,100 allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. The AAAAI is the go-to resource for patients living with allergies, asthma and immune deficiency disorders. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 7,100 members in the United States, Canada and 72 other countries. The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.