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Got fillers? This is how the COVID-19 vaccine could impact you

Reports of facial swelling post vaccine in those with dermal fillers are rising, but should it stop you from getting vaccinated? We ask the experts

As more of us get vaccinated around the world, reports that there are potential side effects associated with receiving the COVID-19 vaccine if you’ve previously had dermal facial fillers have been circulating. Leaving many of you wondering if you shouldn’t get vaccinated, avoid getting filler injections, or wait a certain amount of time between the two.

Fillers are gel like substances that are used to restore volume, lift and sculpt the face and when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines some people have found that they experience delayed inflammatory reactions like redness and swelling in the areas where filler has previously been injected.

The first figures from a Moderna clinical trial found that out of 15,184 people, three with dermal fillers reported these inflammatory reactions. However, what was not documented where how many people in total had derma fillers – meaning there may well be hundreds of people with fillers who had no reactions what’s so ever.

Now, cases of swelling have also been found in patients who took the Pfizer vaccine too. But is there any way to know if you’ll be affected?

EV expert and Clinical Director of Facial Aesthetics, Julie Scott, believes there is truly no way of knowing, and unlike patch testing which is common practice before many aesthetics treatments, ‘patch testing in relation to the COVID-19 vaccination wouldn’t provide any benefit. This is because a small intradermal deposit of filler would not be any clinical indicator as to whether someone is going to have an autoimmune response to, say, 2ml of filler in another area,’ shares Scott.

Her advice is to get vaccinated four weeks prior to having any filler treatment or four weeks post dermal filler treatment. Reactions have been reported to last anywhere from just a few days to a couple of weeks, and while side effects are very rare, they are treatable thanks to antihistamines and corticosteroids that work to lower inflammation. With that said, not all cases have been so severe that they have even needed treating.

This is because there is a major difference between a delayed swelling reaction and an actual allergic reaction to the vaccine which is much more serious.

Also, rare allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine can occur in a short time frame of 15 minutes to four hours and can lead to difficulty breathing and even anaphylaxis aka a severe life-threatening allergic reaction.

So, while filler related facial swelling is possible when taking the vaccine, it’s rare, temporary and not life threatening, meaning you should not be deterred from taking the vaccine if you’ve been invited to do so.

Julie Scott, Owner & Clinical Director

Julie Scott has over 25 years experience in the field of plastics and skin rejuvenation and is a member of the BACN...

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