Concerns for anaphylaxis may hamper severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunization efforts. We convened a multidisciplinary group of international experts in anaphylaxis composed of allergy, infectious disease, emergency medicine, and front-line clinicians to systematically develop recommendations regarding SARS-CoV-2 vaccine immediate allergic reactions. Medline, EMBASE, Web of Science, the World Health Organizstion (WHO) global coronavirus database, and the gray literature (inception, March 19, 2021) were systematically searched. Paired reviewers independently selected studies addressing anaphylaxis after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polysorbate allergy, and accuracy of allergy testing for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine allergy. Random effects models synthesized the data to inform recommendations based on the Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach, agreed upon using a modified Delphi panel. The incidence of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine anaphylaxis is 7.91 cases per million (n = 41,000,000 vaccinations; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 4.02-15.59; 26 studies, moderate certainty), the incidence of 0.15 cases per million patient-years (95% CI 0.11-0.2), and the sensitivity for PEG skin testing is poor, although specificity is high (15 studies, very low certainty). We recommend vaccination over either no vaccination or performing SARS-CoV-2 vaccine/excipient screening allergy testing for individuals without history of a severe allergic reaction to the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine/excipient, and a shared decision-making paradigm in consultation with an allergy specialist for individuals with a history of a severe allergic reaction to the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine/excipient. We recommend further research to clarify SARS-CoV-2 vaccine/vaccine excipient testing utility in individuals potentially allergic to SARS-CoV2 vaccines or their excipients.
Scientist, CHEO Research Institute