Some parents have been concerned whether they should continue their allergy shots (i.e allergen immunotherapy for hayfever and/or asthma) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is some information that may help, but remember it is very important speak to your Allergist if your are concerned.
Will the immunotherapy shots increase my child’s chance of developing COVID-19?
No. There is no evidence allergy immunotherapy shots interfere with one’s immunity against infections. The immunotherapy injections will not put your child at greater risk of COVID-19 or other infections; it works by decreasing your ability to react to a specific allergen(s) (e.g. dust mite) and does not dampen your immune system ability to fight off infections.
My child is receiving his usual maintenance dose(s) every 4 weeks. What should I do?
Please speak to your Allergist for advice. For my patients, I have suggested decreasing the frequency of injections from every 4 weeks to every 6 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic (this adjusted frequency will not interfere with the effectiveness of the injections, but simply reduces the frequency you need to go in to have the shot). You will still need to wait at the GP practice for 30 minutes after their last injection.
If you want to stop the injections during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important you speak to your Allergist first, as you must not assume you can restart at the usual dose, and in some cases, the initial up-dosing schedule may need to be re-commenced if your last injection has been months ago.
Can I do the injections at home?
No. There is always a risk of anaphylaxis (estimated to be ~1% per injection), even if your child has never had an adverse reaction in the past to the injections.
What if I am on allergen tablets?
These can be safely continued at home.
Can my child have the influenza vaccine (flu shot) and their allergy shot?
Yes they can. The risk of an allergic reaction to the flu shot is very rare (estimated to be 1 in 3.5 million doses). For my patients, I have suggested the following
- If you have had a flu shot before (and had no allergic reaction), then you can have it again at the same time of the allergy shot (or at another time if you wish).
- If you have never had the flu shot before, I would suggest you have the allergy shot first, and then flu shot a few days later.
Stay safe, stay home
Dr Sam Mehr