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CDC Says ONLY These People Should Not Get Vaccine

“If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction."
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Female doctor or nurse trying to give shot or vaccine against virus to a scared patient.

Who can get their COVID vaccine? "Everyone 12 years of age and older is now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination," says the CDC. "Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic." So who should not get their COVID-19 vaccine? It's a very small list. "COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to most people with underlying medical conditions. This information aims to help people in the following groups make an informed decision about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine." Read on to see who should remain concerned—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Caught COVID and Maybe Didn't Know It.

Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated

Says the CDC: "If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction, even if it was not severe:

  • to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (such as polyethylene glycol), you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
  • or after getting the first dose of the vaccine, you should not get a second dose of either of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
  • An allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen© or if they must go to the hospital. Learn about common side effects of COVID-19 vaccines and when to call a doctor.
  • An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of getting vaccinated, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress).

If you aren't able to get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you may still be able to get a different type of COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more information for people with allergies."

If you have a severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine, here's what to do

Says the CDC: "If you had a severe allergic reaction—also known as anaphylaxis—after getting the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, CDC recommends that you not get a second shot of that vaccine. If the reaction was after an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), you should not get a second shot of either of these vaccines. Learn which COVID-19 vaccines need a second shot. An allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen© or if they must go to the hospital. Learn about common side effects of COVID-19 vaccines and when to call a doctor."

If you have a non-severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine, here's what to do

Says the CDC: "If you had an immediate allergic reaction after getting a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get a second shot of that vaccine, even if your allergic reaction was not severe enough to require emergency care. If the reaction was after an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), you should not get a second shot of either of these vaccines. An immediate allergic reaction happens within 4 hours of getting vaccinated and may include symptoms such as hives, swelling, and wheezing (respiratory distress). Your doctor may refer you to a specialist in allergies and immunology to provide more care or advice.

Learn about getting a different type of vaccine after an allergic reaction."

If you get a rash where you got the shot, here's what to do

Says the CDC: "CDC has learned of reports that some people have experienced a red, itchy, swollen, or painful rash where they got the shot. These rashes can start a few days to more than a week after the first shot and are sometimes quite large. These rashes are also known as "COVID arm." If you experience "COVID arm" after getting the first shot, you should still get the second shot at the recommended interval if the vaccine you got needs a second shot. Tell your vaccination provider that you experienced a rash or 'COVID arm' after the first shot. Your vaccination provider may recommend that you get the second shot in the opposite arm."

If the rash is itchy, you can take an antihistamine. If it is painful, you can take a pain medication like acetaminophen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

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Safeguards Are in Place

Says the CDC: "CDC has provided recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination providers about how to prepare for the possibility of a severe allergic reaction:

  • All people who get a COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored on site. People who have had severe allergic reactions or who have had any type of immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy should be monitored for at least 30 minutes after getting the vaccine. All other people should be monitored for at least 15 minutes after getting the vaccine.
  • Vaccination providers should have appropriate personnel, medications, and equipment—such as epinephrine, antihistamines, blood pressure monitor, and timing devices to check your pulse—at all COVID-19 vaccination provider sites.
  • If you experience a severe allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, vaccination providers can provide care rapidly and call for emergency medical services. You should continue to be monitored in a medical facility for at least several hours.

Learn more about what to expect after getting vaccinated for COVID-19, including normal side effects and tips to reduce pain or discomfort."

CDC Is Monitoring Reports of Severe Allergic Reactions

Says the CDC: "If someone has a severe allergic reaction after getting vaccinated, their vaccination provider will send a report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is a national system that collects reports from healthcare professionals, vaccine manufacturers, and the public about adverse events that happen after vaccination. Reports of adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected, or have unusual patterns are followed up with specific studies."

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People with underlying medical conditions at increased risk from COVID-19

Says the CDC: "Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for and can be administered to most people with underlying medical conditions.

The list of high-risk medical conditions that put people at increased risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness is updated routinely as new data become available."

People who have weakened immune systems, here's what to do

Says the CDC: "People with HIV and those with weakened immune systems due to other illnesses or medication might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19. They may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. However, they should be aware of the limited safety data:

  • Information about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who have weakened immune systems in this group is not yet available
  • People living with HIV were included in clinical trials, though safety data specific to this group are not yet available at this time

People with weakened immune systems should also be aware of the potential for reduced immune responses to the vaccine, as well as the need to continue following current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19."

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People who have autoimmune conditions, here's what to do

Says the CDC: "People with autoimmune conditions may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. However, they should be aware that no data are currently available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people with autoimmune conditions. People from this group were eligible for enrollment in some of the clinical trials. More information about vaccine clinical trials can be found below."

People who have previously had Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), here's what to do

Says the CDC: "People who have previously had GBS may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. To date, no cases of GBS have been reported following vaccination in participants in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. One case of GBS was reported in a vaccinated participant in the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine clinical trial (compared to one GBS case among those who received placebo). With few exceptions, the independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) general best practice guidelines for immunization do not include a history of GBS as a precaution to vaccination with other vaccines."

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People who have previously had Bell's palsy, here's what to do

Says the CDC: "People who have previously had Bell's palsy may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Cases of Bell's palsy were reported following vaccination in participants in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider these to be more than the rate expected in the general population. They have not concluded these cases were caused by vaccination."

After vaccination, follow current guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Says the CDC: "After you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated."

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People with underlying medical conditions included in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

Says the CDC: "Vaccine manufacturers report information from clinical trials, including demographics and underlying medical conditions of people who participated in COVID-19 vaccine trials. You can find additional information on COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials at clinicaltrials.gov, a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world." So get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more