USF looking for participants for study of allergic reactions to COVID vaccines

The same week that Johnson & Johnson reported reactions to its COVID-19 vaccine, a national study with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is underway to investigate allergic reactions to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The University of South Florida in Tampa is one of 35 sites around the country participating.

"It was prompted by the fact that several people developed acute allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine when it was first given in the U.K.," said Dr. Thomas Casale, USF Professor of Medicine for the Division of Allergy and Immunology.

Dr. Casale is overseeing the study out of USF. He says typically one in a million people have severe reactions to vaccines. But in the Pfizer COVID vaccine, early monitoring showed a ten in a million chance and 2.5 in a million chance in response to the Moderna vaccine.

"We don’t really know why. We do know that it’s more common in females," said Dr. Casale.

That’s what the study is trying to uncover.

USF is now looking for 120 participants.

Dr. Casale says in new vaccines, studies like this are crucial.

"They’re relatively new platforms. So although they’re very effective, we have to be very vigilant as well to make sure that there isn’t any effects."

So far only 30 people are enrolled in the study at USF. They plan to start vaccinating next week.

If you’re interested in participating, you can call or email Catherine Smith at 813-631-4024 or: