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Study to look into allergic reactions to Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines

Michigan Medicine researchers are helping lead the study.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A national clinical trial to study allergic reactions to the Pfizer, Bio-N-Tech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines started Wednesday at the University of Michigan. 

Michigan Medicine researchers are helping lead the study funded by the National Institutes of Health to determine what's causing people to react to the mRNA vaccines. 

Dr. James Baker, a professor with U of M's medical school and co-leader of the trial, said the allergic reactions are rare. 

"But, I think they're very scary to people," Baker said. "If we can do something that clarifies all this and makes them feel safer, I think that it will really help vaccine acceptance."

Baker said the hope is to have over 5,000 people participate in the study nationwide, with more than 100 participants at Michigan Medicine. 

About 60% of the group will be made up of people who have a history of allergic reactions, while the other portion of the group will not.

“It’s important to study people who have many severe allergies and may have even been told because they have allergies they shouldn’t get vaccines,” Baker said. “In the study, we can give them the vaccine safely in a controlled environment.”

Each participant will receive either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine. There will be a placebo group, but each participant will come back to receive the shot afterwards. 

Study participants will be observed for over an hour by trained allergists, Baker says, who can respond to any allergic reactions. 

The trial is still looking for participants between the ages of 18 and 69 years old, primarily those who have had allergic reactions in the past. 

Click here if you're interested in participating in the Michigan Medicine trial. 

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