The COVID vaccine and injectable fillers
Shortly after the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine starting rolling out, the media starting buzzing about facial swelling experienced by those with injectable fillers after receiving their shots. Here are the facts: In Moderna’s Phase 3 COVID trial (which included approximately 30,000 people), three people developed facial or lip swelling after receiving the vaccine. Two of those patients got filler injections in their cheeks within six months of their vaccination. The other patient got their lips injected two days after getting the vaccine. (For the record, this patient reported experiencing similar swelling after getting a flu vaccine in the past.)
First of all, unanticipated side effects are common with any new drug. However, it’s important to look at the bigger picture, especially since we’re talking about a vaccine for the virus that has basically robbed us of an entire year. Hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers have been linked to occasional delayed-onset inflammatory reactions well before COVID and the vaccine—although the incidence is rare. Do the math… three people out of 30,000 is far from a reason to panic.
The major dermatological societies are not advising against injectable fillers as more and more Americans get vaccinated, simply because the risk of this adverse reaction is so small. But if you’d like to err on the side of caution and you haven’t been vaccinated yet, I’d recommend holding off on the injectable fillers. Once you get your vaccine, you may also want to wait a few months before “filling up” again as well. (Just remember, this is your choice, and not medically-based recommendation.)