The NIH has begun a clinical trial assessing whether patients who are highly allergic or have a mast cell disorder are at greater risk for an immediate, systemic allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech. A systemic allergic reaction occurs in at least one part of the body beyond the injection site.

Study findings will help health care providers advise this at-risk patient population on the potential risks versus benefits of receiving either of these two vaccines. Scientists are also exploring the biological mechanism causing these allergic reactions. They hope to learn if a genetic pattern or another factor can indicate the highest-risk patients. Study results are anticipated by late summer 2021.

Severe allergic reactions to the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, which have already been administered to millions of Americans, have typically occurred in patients with a history of allergies.

The clinical trial, which will...

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