Dermatologic Reactions to the COVID-19 Vaccine

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Esther Freeman, MD, PhD, discusses the most frequent cutaneous presentations associated with vaccination.

Esther Freeman, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, is the principal investigator of the COVID-19 Dermatology Registry, a database developed in collaboration with the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the International League of Dermatologic Societies (ILDS).

For months, the registry has collected cases of dermatologic manifestations related to COVID-19 so that dermatologists and care providers can be informed on the possible skin manifestations related to infection.

“At this point we’ve collected over 2000 cases of dermatologic manifestations of COVID-19 from 52 different countries and from all continents except Antarctica ,” noted Freeman in an interview with HCPLive®.

Since the start of the international vaccination campaign, the registry has also begun to include information on symptoms and presentations associated with the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines.

Freeman discussed her team's most recently published data, which was based on the first 414 vaccine skin reactions.

“The most commonly reported reaction was actually after Moderna,” said Freeman. “And this is something called a delayed large local reaction.”

She explained it presents as a large red plaque on the arm 7 or 8 days following injection. Patients nonetheless do very well. Thus, Freeman noted, it becomes the responsibility of the provider to assure and educate their patients about such possible reactions.

Other possible common reactions include urticaria, morbilliform, and COVID toes, said Freeman.