COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A

COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A Panel

Your chance to hear the experts

As Australians are now receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine, you may have some questions about the roll out of the vaccine and people diagnosed with allergic disease. On Monday 15th March we hosted a live Q&A Panel discussion with Prof Michael Gold and Prof Michaela Lucas about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Watch the webinar to understand more about the vaccine and have your questions answered by the experts.

COVID Q&A Webinar - Full webinar

Who is eligible for the vaccine at this point in time?

If you have the vaccine (both doses), does that mean you will never get COVID-19? Or does it mean you are less likely to get it? Does it mean that if you do get it, you won’t have a serious infection?

How safe is the vaccine for people who have food allergy and are at risk of anaphylaxis?

For someone who has got an allergic history, who has had anaphylaxis to medication or food, do you or what’s your advice Michaela for those people when deciding on where to get the vaccine? Should they go to their GP? Or should they go to a hub at a hospital? Are GP surgeries as well equipped for anaphylaxis as a hospital hub?

In the past, we spend a lot of time reassuring people about the flu vaccine and egg allergy. People are also asking about Mammalian Meat Allergy. If you have either of those allergies, Is it safe to have the COVID vaccine?

When people with a history of allergic disease have the vaccine, do they wait just 15 minutes like everybody else for a period of observation? Or if you’ve had a history of anaphylaxis, do you wait longer than that?

So, we have both the Pfizer and the AstraZeneca vaccines in Australia. And we’ve had some questions around whether one or the other, the mRNA or the AstraZeneca are perhaps safer for people who have got a history of anaphylaxis. Understand we probably don’t have a choice necessarily, but is there some understanding about whether one is safer for the proportion of the population who have had previous anaphylaxis or are at risk?

Is there a test that can be done prior to having the vaccine to determine whether a person is likely to react to the vaccine?

If someone has a reaction to one of the vaccines, so whether it’s the AstraZeneca or the Pfizer on their first dose, can you explain what might happen if it was a severe reaction, so for an anaphylaxis or whether it was maybe a mild to moderate reaction or even not an allergic reaction, but an adverse event. Can you explain what happens?

How many reactions has there been to the vaccines?

If a person has had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine, a different vaccine in the past, should they get any extra advice about having the COVID vaccine or should they just approach it like anyone else; declare that they have had a severe reaction to a vaccine in the past when they are going to get the vaccine?

How long do people have to wait if they are at risk of anaphylaxis after a vaccine? Should they be waiting 50, 30, 15, sorry 30 minutes after or just the same as everybody else?

As we’re heading into winter now, usually this time of year we’re talking about the flu vaccine. But at the moment it’s the COVID vaccine that’s top of mind. Should people prioritise one, the COVID vaccine over the flu vaccine? What’s the advice around that?

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We had a question about workplaces and whether they’re able to demand that you have the vaccine. And look, this isn’t a legal forum, and I think that’s probably a question for a lawyer to ask, but can people be forced to have the vaccine by a workplace? Do you have any comment to make on that Michaela or Mike?

If you have had a severe reaction to allergen immunotherapy, are you at greater risk? Should you get the COVID vaccine in a specialist’s setting?

Is there any benefit in having an antihistamine before you have the COVID-19 vaccine?

For people on nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, is there any contradiction for them? Are there any medications that people take that would stop someone from having the COVID-19 vaccine?

Has there been any trials with the vaccine and children or adults with G6PD? What was the outcome? Any advice?

If you have had anaphylaxis previously, is it safe to have the vaccine at a pharmacy if you live in rural/regional Australia?

What are the active ingredients in the vaccine, and where can you find a list of ingredients in the two vaccines available in Australia?

Would you always recommend, if someone is at risk at anaphylaxis to always have your ASCIA Action Plan and EpiPen along with them to have the vaccine?

About the panellists

Prof Mike GoldProfessor Michael Gold MbChB, DCH, FCP, MD, FRACP

Professor Michael Gold is a Paediatric Allergist and Immunologist with conjoint positions in the Discipline of Paediatrics, University of Adelaide and is former Medical Unit Head of the Department of Allergy and Immunology at the Women’s and Children’s Health Network.  He has a research and clinical interest in the prevention of food allergy and vaccine safety.  He was appointed to the World Health Organisation Global Advisory Committee for Vaccine Safety in 2010 and has been an advisor to the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration via his appointment to a number of expert advisory groups since 2006.  He has been awarded a number of Australian national research grants as a principal investigator for projects that have researched novel methods of safety surveillance including data linkage and m-Health.  He has contributed to a number of key WHO guidelines which include the global Adverse Event Following Immunisation surveillance manual, the WHO guideline on causality assessment, a guideline for programme managers on Immunisation stress related responses and the global manual for COVID vaccine safety surveillance.  He has participated in numerous WHO organised training courses to strengthen adverse event surveillance and causality assessment systems in low and middle income countries and is currently a consultant to WHO South East Asian Region, facilitating the implementation of COVID vaccine pharmacovigilance.  He has contributed to the Vaccines for Africa initiative through research collaborations and presentations at the annual vaccinology course based at the University of Cape Town.       

Professor Michaela Lucas Dr Med MD, FRACP, FRCPA

Prof Michaela LucasProfessor Michaela Lucas is an Immunologist/Immunopathologist and Clinician-Scientist with expertise spanning T cell immunology including the pathogenesis of T cell mediated drug allergies, anti-viral T cell responses, vaccine development, and most recently understanding the role of inflammation in the development of adaptive immunity in organ transplantation. She leads a multi-disciplinary team of clinical and basic science researchers, microsurgeons and technicians, at the Immunology and Transplantation Lab at The University of Western Australia.

Professor Lucas’s research has produced over 100 peer-reviewed papers. She has held multiple NHMRC and ACH2 grants as a principle and co-investigator, and is currently Principal Investigator at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital site for the multi-centre BRACE Clinical trial, investigating the BCG vaccination to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Australian healthcare workers following Coronavirus Exposure. In addition, Professor Lucas is conducting two investigator-driven randomised controlled trials in antibiotic allergy. She is the President of the Australasian Society of Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), the Chair of the ASCIA Drug Allergy Committee, and the project lead in Drug Allergy for the National Allergy Strategy. She consults for the Australian Digital Health Agency on the My Health Record initiative and the Australian Health and Safety Agency on drug allergy documentation.

Content created 30 March 2021

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