Only Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were tracked. At the time, these vaccines were being given only to health care workers and senior citizens.
That could be why “COVID arm” appeared to happen more often in women, the researchers said.
“Ninety percent of vaccine reactions were reported in female patients. It is difficult to assess if there is a true sex difference in likelihood of developing a cutaneous reaction, or whether it might reflect reporting bias, or stem from the healthcare workforce being 76% female,” they wrote.
It’s important to note that some study participants had a rash after the first dose, some after the second dose, and some after both doses. Patients responded well to topical corticosteroids, oral antihistamines and/or pain-relieving medications, and their reactions cleared up after 3-4 days without the need for antibiotics.
“Taken together, these data provide reassurance to clinicians tasked with counseling patients who experience a delayed cutaneous arm reaction after their first Moderna dose that i) patients tolerated the second dose without developing severe adverse or allergic events, ii) the rash may recur the second time but is, on average, likely to be less severe and may develop faster, and iii) symptomatic therapies (e.g. ice/pain relief/antihistamines/topical corticosteroids) can be used for treatment without antibiotics.,” the researchers wrote.
The study was published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.