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Can Fillers Cause Bad Reaction With Covid Vaccine?

In the continuing fight to control the COVID virus, vaccines continue to be a contentious debate.  Though the safety of COVID vaccines has been well established by science, there are still many people in the world who are hesitant to get the vaccine.  And the reasons are not limited to political beliefs.  Many people hold very reasonable concerns- ranging from uncertainty to the safety  of vaccines to potential unknown potential future effects.  One concern that’s been noted recently was if vaccines may cause patients to experience worse swelling after fillers.    Due to the immense popularity of fillers, this potential side effect of the vaccine may dissuade people who otherwise may have gotten the vaccine.

The first filler / COVID-19 Vaccine reaction was reported in December 2020, through Moderna’s FDA Briefing Document.  According to the United Kingdom’s Drug Safety Research Unit, facial swelling was also reported in patients with history of dermal filler injections who received the Pfizer vaccine.  Since the concern this report raised, additional data have revealed that filler-vaccine reactions are rare.  Furthermore, the reactions were self limiting and little threat posed to overall health.   But the true prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine/filler reactions can’t be calculated without knowing the how many patients had undergone prior filler injections.  In our practice, we have had no one report they had unusual swelling or other weird side effects from vaccine injections.  

It’s difficult to say the reported swelling and other side effects after filler injections are due to the COVID vaccine.  That’s because even patients who’ve never gotten the COVID vaccine can develop swelling after any filler injections.  While unusually large swelling after routine filler injections are rare, so are the reported facial swelling noted reported in those people who had the vaccine.  

Fortunately, if you had the vaccine and develop side effects after a filler treatment, there are effective treatments available.  First, if the swelling is not too bad, you can safely just wait and observe.  In reports, no one developed permanent deformities or any prolonged swelling.  Some over the counter medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can be helpful.  If swelling is more intense, your physician can also prescribe oral steroids.  In addition, certain antibiotics like doxycycline or minocycline can be very helpful in treating your swelling.  These antibiotics are effective against common skin infections, and also have an anti-inflammatory. The COVID virus and vaccine target your ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) receptor.  There have been reports that giving a low dose lisinopril- a common blood pressure medicine that blocks this enzyme- can dramatically reduce swelling in vaccinated patient who develop swelling after filler injections.  Since a low dose is used, it’s unlikely you will develop an unsafe drop in your blood pressure.  Finally, if the filler swelling and discomfort persist despite all these efforts, you should consider just dissolving the filler.  If a vaccinated patient is experiencing problems after a filler injection, then it is likely the filler is the source of the problem.  In this analysis, then it makes sense to just get rid of the filler and let your body heal.

Since there is still so little data, it is hard to make definitive treatment protocols.  The most important thing is to realize adverse reactions after filler injections in people who are vaccinated can occur soon after treatments to even years later.  So it’s crucial you notify your physician of any unusual reactions after vaccinations.  Experts advise medical professionals to report even mild reactions to a vaccine.  Bottom line, vaccines are safe and should be seriously considered by everyone to help us control the virus.  Fillers remain super popular, and there is nothing to suggest you can’t get the vaccine and continue to receive these beneficial cosmetic treatments. 

For more information about San Antonio cosmetic surgery, injectable fillers,  please visit our interactive website at Dr. Kenneth Yu Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is a qualified team of experts serving the San Antonio, Texas area. To schedule a consultation, please contact our Concierge Patient Coordinator at (210) 876-6868 or