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CDC Issues COVID Vaccine Warnings for These Health Conditions

The agency posted new guidance about whether the vaccines are safe for certain people.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Doctor filling syringe with medication, closeup. Vaccination and immunization

The CDC has updated its guidance about the COVID-19 vaccine for people with certain pre-existing medical conditions. "Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19," the CDC said. "mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions provided they have not had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine." 

mRNA means messenger RNA; mRNA vaccines target messenger cells, which tell certain other cells in the body to perform specific actions. The COVID-19 vaccine tells the body's immune cells to develop antibodies to the spike protein that enables the coronavirus to attach to cells. Read on to see which conditions are mentioned—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Guidance targets immune conditions

The CDC's new guidance involved people with HIV, weakened immune systems and certain autoimmune conditions, like GBS and Bell's Palsy.

People with HIV and weakened immune systems "may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. However, they should be aware of the limited safety data," said the CDC. People with HIV were included in clinical trials, but "safety data specific to this group are not yet available at this time," the agency said.

"People with autoimmune conditions may receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine," the CDC said. But the agency noted that this group of people should also be aware of a lack of safety data, even though people with autoimmune conditions were included in clinical trials. 

During vaccine trials, some people developed Bell's palsy, a temporary facial paralysis. The newly issued CDC guidance says the FDA "does not consider these to be above the rate expected in the general population. They have not concluded these cases were caused by vaccination. Therefore, persons who have previously had Bell's palsy may receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine."

The agency also said that people who have GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome) can receive a vaccine, and no cases of GBS were reported in mRNA COVID vaccine trials.

RELATED: If You Feel This, You May Have Already Had COVID, Says Dr. Fauci

Advice on allergic reactions coming

Earlier this month, the CDC said that people with a history of severe allergic reactions can get the COVID vaccine, but they should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor and be monitored for 30 minutes afterward. The New York Times reported that at least six severe allergic reactions have been linked to the Pfizer vaccine; last weekend, a doctor with a severe shellfish allergy suffered a reaction after getting the Moderna vaccine but recovered after using his personal auto-injector.

On Dec. 25, the CDC said that guidance about reactions to the COVID vaccine would be posted to its website starting this week.

As of Monday, more than 2.1 million people nationwide have gotten the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. More than 11.4 million doses have been distributed.

How to survive this pandemic

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, get vaccinated when it's available to you, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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