PEG allergy has become an important topic since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. There are 2 messenger RNA vaccines that have been approved in multiple countries around the world.
There are 3 adenovirus vector vaccines as well. Johnson and Johnson Covid Vaccine and Allergy
Since the vaccine rollout, there have been reports of reactions, particularly with the mRNA vaccines.
Both mRNA vaccines contain polyethylene glycol (PEG). The labeled contraindications to this vaccine are an allergy to PEG or another vaccine ingredient. Although PEG is a suspect allergen of the mRNA vaccine, it has not been confirmed as the cause of reactions.
A recent study published in the Annals of Allergy Asthma and Immunology “Primary care provider-reported prevalence of vaccine and polyethylene glycol allergy in Canada”, looked at the prevalance of vaccine and PEG allergy.
The study showed the prevalence of vaccine allergy was 0.037% (395/1,055,677). PEG allergy was 0.00009% (10/1,055,677).
PEG is in common in certain medications, here are some but not all:
- Methylprednisolone acetate
- Methyoxy polyethylene glycol epoetin beta
- Pegfilgrastim (Neulasta)
- Brilliant Blue G Ophthalmic Solution
- Sulfur hexaflouride
- Perflutren lipid microsphere
Based on these results PEG allergy is very rare. Testing is very limited for PEG in COVID vaccines and it is based on history from this study. PEG is not in the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, although it contains Polysorbate 80 which may or may not be a source of allergic reactions.
Overall though, the study shows that there is a very low prevalence of vaccine allergy and even lower PEG allergy. Always speak to your doctor if there is any concern of possible allergic reactions in the past, but any history of asthma or allergies is not a contraindication to the Covid-19 vaccines.