Friday’s COVID Vaccine update — Can Antihistamines Be Taken To Reduce the Risk of Anaphylaxis?

Patients and friends have been asking this excellent question. Here is the latest advice from the CDC.

The CDC, as well as allergy-immunology experts, advise against taking antihistamines (e.g., Benadryl) prior to receiving a vaccine, even among people with a possible allergic reaction to the first dose of COVID-19, as antihistamines do not prevent anaphylaxis and might mask skin symptoms, delaying the diagnosis and treatment of anaphylaxis (Banerji, J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2020; CDC, Interim Clinical Considerations 2020).

Note: All COVID-19 vaccination sites are expected to have appropriate medications, including antihistamines and epinephrine, as well as equipment to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and pulse, to ensure that any allergic reactions can be quickly diagnosed and managed (CDC, Allergic Reactions 2020).


This blog was accurate as of the day of posting. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus and the COVID vaccine develops, the information above may have changed since it was last updated. While I aim to keep all of my blogs on COVID and the COVID vaccine up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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