Approaching COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy Among Pregnant Women, People With a History of Anaphylaxis

April 6, 2021

Hager Hanon, PharmD, RPh, senior pharmacist at Community Care Rx, discusses COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy among pregnant women and people with a history of anaphylaxis.

Pharmacy Times® interviewed Hager Hanon, PharmD, RPh, senior pharmacist at Community Care Rx, on COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy among 2 populations in particular: pregnant women and people with a history of anaphylaxis.

During the discussion, Hanon explained why pregnant women and people with a history of anaphylaxis may be hesitant about pursuing COVID-19 vaccinations, whether there any safety concerns for the authorized COVID-19 vaccines for these populations to consider, whether there are any special instructions for pregnant women who are interested in pursuing COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as whether there are any data regarding the vaccine’s effect on fertility.

Hanon explained that she is aware that there are many myths and conspiracy theories in circulation on social media regarding the vaccine’s effect on fertility.

“These are all incorrect,” Hanon said. “If we look back in the history of vaccines, there has never been any issue when it comes to pregnancy. All vaccines seem to be safe with pregnant women whether before or after. There has never been a vaccine in history where it caused infertility. So, I would say these are all conspiracy theories. It's very important for patients to educate themselves from the right platform, and the right platform will be their doctor and their pharmacist.”

In regard to people with a history of anaphylaxis, Hanon said that depending on what kind of anaphylaxis the patient may experience—such as common ones like allergies to certain foods, insects, or latex—the CDC has explained that it's safe to get vaccinated. This is additionally the case for those who are allergic to medications such as penicillin, which the CDC has also found to be safe in terms of vaccination.

“However, if you had a severe reaction to an injectable before, so it could be any sort of injectable, the most common one would be like a vitamin B12 injection or any of the sedum medications are injectables, it's important to discuss it with your doctor, just because the ingredients used in injectables might be similar to the ones that are encoded with vaccines. So, it could be the ingredient that you're allergic to and not necessarily the vaccine,” Hanon said. “As far as other anaphylaxis reactions, it's safe to go ahead and take it after discussing it with your doctor.”

The discussion also included how pharmacists can approach discussing the authorized COVID-19 vaccines with patients in these populations if they express concern, the value of the pharmacist approaching the questions of vaccine hesitant patients, and recommendations to make these conversations more effective.