Covid-19. No, allergy is not always a contraindication to vaccination

“Hello, how do people with allergies who are refused vaccination?” Will they have a health pass? “. The question is put to us by Sabrina, 40, from Lorient (Morbihan). Like her, 30% of the French population have allergic profiles. And many are asking the question.

To treat, answer questions and reassure the most anxious, there are 2,000 allergists to work in France. Faced with the resurgence of requests since the last speech by President Emmanuel Macron and the entry into force of the health pass, professionals are sounding the alarm.

Too many “unjustified requests”

“This is a double message that we are sending, both to people with allergies and to vaccinating doctors. Not all types of allergies require an allergy assessment. People with respiratory allergies (pollen, mites, etc.), food or drug allergies, including in their severe forms, can be vaccinated with confidence. We cannot accommodate the 20 million French people with allergies, the vast majority of them for unjustified requests ”, warns Professor Frédéric de Blay, President of the French Federation of Allergology, and head of the Allergology, Asthmatology and Respiratory Pathology service at Strasbourg University Hospitals.

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“A few hundred cases in France”

The anxiety-provoking climate raises questions. However, only two circumstances call for consulting an allergist. Anaphylactic shock affecting two or more organs after the first injection of a vaccine. “Example, urticaria coupled with asthma”, specifies Frédéric de Blay. Or a documented allergy to polyethylene glycol (PEG), present in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, or to polysorbate, present in the AstraZeneca vaccine. Documented allergies to any of these two components do not concern “Only a few hundred cases in France”, notes the expert.

“And so far I have never seen one that could block vaccination. “ The allergological assessment is then essential. But the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, by messenger RNA, could then be recommended for patients allergic to polysorbate, a component of the AstraZeneca vaccine. And vice versa.

“If we can’t give him another vaccine.” So, we can opt for desensitization, that is to say inject the product in very small quantities. Again, this only concerns a tiny fraction of allergic people. We must reduce their stress to be vaccinated. “

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This is precisely the case of the Lorientaise Sabrina. The forties had angioedema coupled with anaphylactic shock in 2016 after taking a cough syrup. “I want to be vaccinated but my doctor advises against doing so. It is not very reassuring. “

Upcoming adjustments for special cases

For the president of the French Allergology Federation, the instructions remain clear. “We must refer to the only two circumstances for which there are contraindications. As it stands, this patient must return to her doctor, who will have to check whether the syrup in question contains polyethylene glycol or polysorbate. If it is indeed composed of it, then she must, legitimately, make an appointment with an allergist for a check-up. “

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In cases where the contraindication to the vaccine is proven, “The patient’s attending physician, or failing that a physician, must issue a certificate specifying the reasons for the exemption. Decrees will be published in order to specify the arrangements put in place for these particular cases ”, specified, Tuesday, August 3, at West France the Directorate General of Health.

As a reminder, the government spokesperson, Gabriel Attal, had already promised Monday, July 19 “Clarifications in the coming days”, concerning obtaining the health pass for people who cannot receive the vaccine. This Tuesday, August 3, the question is still open …