Don't panic.

By Jenna Curcio
Jan 25, 2021 @ 3:44 pm
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It seems like just as soon as we started to see the light at the end of this COVID-19 pandemic tunnel, new concerns surrounding the vaccine have started to pop up. And its left many people feeling hesitant. 

Although widespread vaccination is still in the beginning stages and is currently being rolled out incrementally by groups specified by the CDC, there have been growing concerns about potential side effects of the vaccine, specifically for those who have filler. 

These discussions began to arise back in Dec. 2020, after a few media outlets started reporting on a rare cases of people with filler who were experiencing swelling after receiving the first of two COVID-19 vaccination doses.

But the good news is that although these cases are in fact real and valid, they're also quite rare. Meaning it's still safe to get the shot — even if you just got a fresh set of filler.

To answer all of your other burning questions, we turned to Dr. Melissa Doft, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in New York, to give us all the expert insight we need to help you feel safe about getting vaccinated. 

Generally Speaking, How Common Are Vaccine Side Effects for People With Filler?  

While the side effects a few have experienced with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are not common, in general, inflammation isn't exactly unusual.

"One of the patients in the initial study stated that she also had facial swelling with the influenza or flu vaccine," says Dr. Doft. "The goal of a vaccine is to excite your immune system when recognizing a virus or in this case, the spike protein, so that your body forms antibodies to it and will be equipped to protect you if you ever come into contact with the virus. In the process of revving your immune system, it is only natural that your body would react to something which it sees as foreign. This has been seen with other vaccines like the flu or shingles vaccine." 

In other words, even if you do experience any sort of swelling, you likely shouldn't automatically go into panic mode.

What Can Potentially Cause Swelling for Those With Filler, and Is It Treatable?

According to Dr. Doft, only three participants in the initial Moderna studies experienced facial swelling shortly after being vaccinated. And though there have been a few more recorded cases since, the chances of experiencing this side effect are quite low. Plus, there is an easy treatment plan. 

"It is believed that the risk for swelling is 1/10,000," she shares. "In each case, the patients were treated with an antihistamine — Benadryl or Claritin — and/or an oral steroid. All of the swelling resolved and the patients had no further problems." 

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Are There Any Concerns for People with Botox, Other Injectables, or Cosmetic Surgeries?

So far, nope! According to the M.D., there have been no reported cases of people with Botox, other forms of injectables, or those who've had cosmetic surgery experiencing negative side effects. 

Should I Delay My Next Filler Appointment Until After I've Been Vaccinated?

"The risk is low and the symptoms can be easily managed with antihistamine or prednisone," says Dr. Doft. "I would not delay having the COVID vaccine or filler treatment. The science and facts behind this incredibly rare issue are extremely clear, so go ahead and book your next filler appointment. No hesitation necessary." 

So, yeah. Go live your best life (inside the house until this is over).

So... You're Absolutely Sure It's OK to Have Filler and Be Vaccinated? 

According to Dr, Doft, you will be just fine — so there's really no need to panic. And if in the rare event you do experience swelling, it can be treated easily with an over-the-counter antihistamine.

"We believe that the risk is 1/10,000, which is extremely low," the plastic surgeon asserts. "One of the patients from the study had a previous similar reaction with the flu shot. To stop this pandemic and to return to life as normal, it is critical that we all take the vaccine — even those of us who love filler."