Having cosmetic facial fillers should not stop anyone from getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The anxiety over the unsightly side effects, while not unwarranted, is unnecessary as they are not likely to happen to a majority of people with fillers, top dermatologists told Lifestyle.
Reports of swelling happened to only three people out of 30,000 during the Moderna COVID-19 clinical trial, making it a one in 10,000 incidence. The swelling (facial and lips) occurred only during the clinical trial. There are other vaccine options to choose from. But, should anyone have the misfortune of some swelling after the vaccine, it’s nothing a simple antihistamine cannot fix in about two to three days.
“Clearly, in this case, the benefits outweigh the risks as these side effects are not only rare but are mild, transient and temporary,” says Dr. Aivee Teo. “We know for a fact that a filler reaction can occur. It is not common, but it happens. Some patients who have fillers react to alcohol or when they’re sick.”
Facial swelling is not among the common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.“What happens in some individuals is that their immune system becomes hyperactivated. So now the vaccine, for COVID-19 or any other type of vaccine for that matter, will treat the fillers like it was a foreign object, and so the reaction or swelling occurs,” says Dr. Jonathan Yu, also a dermatologist.
Yu said anybody with fillers should not panic—nobody has been hospitalized and the swelling is certainly not life-threatening. He said the reaction is not specific to the COVID-19 vaccine. In his 15-year experience, he has seen patients reacting to flu vaccines.
“Some people are sensitive to inflammatory responses, so it’s like their bodies are trying to fight an infection,” Yu said. “If you have fillers, you should still get a vaccine, or if you’re planning to have fillers, this reported side effect should not stop you from getting one.”
Believe it or not, despite being born with naturally full lips, Filipinos still like to get lip fillers, Teo says. It’s a popular procedure as is getting fillers in the under eye area, cheeks, temples and chin.
Teo urges Filipinos with fillers to get the vaccine. The swelling is easily treatable, but COVID-19 is not. —CONTRIBUTED INQ