6 questions about facial swelling and COVID-19 vaccines answered

Vials containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Image from Wikipedia.

The news that Moderna’s (NSDQ:MRNA) COVID-19 had a small risk of facial swelling for patients with dermal fillers has spooked scores of patients. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons have been inundated with queries from concerned patients. But the risk of problems is miniscule, according to Dr. Wilbur Hah, the president of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS).

In the following interview, Dr. Hah puts the risk into perspective, explains why Botox recipients are unlikely to experience vaccine-induced facial swelling and provides a suggestion for drug developers and the CDC.

1. How would you characterize the reaction from patients concerned about Moderna’s vaccine reactivity to dermal fillers?

Dr. Wilbur Hah

Hah: Though it is a potential risk, I want to emphasi…

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Facial swelling and COVID-19 vaccines: 4 facts

Image from Nataliya Vaitkevich via Pexels

Patients with dermal fillers have a small potential risk of developing facial swelling after obtaining mRNA vaccines.

To date, the FDA has noted the problem in three clinical trial recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna (NSDQ:MRNA). The agency hasn’t observed facial swelling in the Phase 3 clinical trial for the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NSDQ:BNTX).

We reached out to Dr. Whitney Bowe, a board-certified dermatologist and expert injector, to shed light on the topic.

1. Facial fillers ≠ Botox

Delayed inflammation is possible for patients who receive either hyaluronic acid or non-hyaluronic acid fillers. The former option, comprising brands such as Juvéderm from AbbVie subsidiary Allergan (NYSE:ABBV) and Restylane from Galderma Laboratories, is the most common.

Facial fillers, however, are distinct from Boto…

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