Unpacking Fillers & The Moderna Vaccine Concerns

"Is it safe to get the Moderna vaccine if I have filler?"

This is a question we've been hearing a lot, not only from our patients, but from our own staff (me included!). You can imagine that a New York City-based team, working in a Dermatology practice, specializing in injectables (Restylane, Juvederm, Botox, Sculptra, Kybella, etc.) has plenty of concerns when hearing this! 

The good news is, the Moderna Vaccine Study Patients that experieced swelling in the filler-treated areas, were cared for and cured with no further complications. 

If you are planning on receiving the Moderna Vaccine, know that common side effects are fatique and pain at the site of the vaccine injection. Temporary and treatable swelling of areas of the face treated with filler can also be a side effect for a very small amount of people.

Moderna’s Phase III trial, termed the "Phase 3 COVE" study, had a total number of 30,000 participants who all received 100ug of mRNA-1273 vaccine. This study began in July of 2020 and had 30,000 patients from age 18 to over 65. These patients were of a mixed economic, racial and ethnic background. Patients ranged from healthy subjects, to those with comorbitities (anyone with a simultaneous presence of two or more diseases or medical conditions). 

Of the 30,000 participants, 3 people reported swelling that could possibly be linked to hyaluronic acid fillers.

Let’s delve deeper:

  1. 2 patients had fillers in their cheeks, 1-2 weeks prior to the receiving the injection and the other six months prior

  2. 1 patient received dermal filler in the lips two days after receiving the vaccine. This patient had also experienced a similar reaction with the flu vaccine the year prior. 

When we are given a vaccine, it introduces an antigen (something that isn’t normally supposed to be in our body) into our system and teases our immune system into recognizing it, mounting a response and coming after it.  Along with the the immune response comes our innate inflammatory response.  Some of us have responses that are more robust than others.  It would make sense that on occasion, while the body is on the look out for the unfamiliar, it could locate an HA filler and send some inflammatory cells in it’s direction. 

In addition, hyaluronic acid attracts water, any increase in the bodies inflammatory response with increase fluids and cause the filler to swell. 

Lip filler itself can cause swelling up to 1 week after the procedure.  Whether, the 3rd patient was having normal swelling after this common procedure or whether the vaccine may have contributed, we will never know.  However, given the patients history of swelling of the lips with prior vaccines, a condition called angioedema, it is more likely the patient either has a reaction/allergy to a preservative in the vaccine or simply has a robust immune system.

Given the amount of stress and anxiety we have all dealt with this past year, the team at Center Aesthetic & Dermatology wants you to know that we will address any and all concerns regarding your Filler x Vaccine treatments. Our team is committed to your comfort and safety. If you've visted our office in Union Square recently, you know we take our COVID-19 Response Protocols very seriously and will continue to do so until our city is healthy and thriving. We love you, New York. 

Dr. Cheryl Karcher Dr. Cheryl Karcher Dr. Cheryl Karcher is our Board Certified Dermatologist here at Center Aesthetic & Dermatology. She also specializes in Nutrition and Surgical Dermatology specialities like Chin Liposuction for Jawline Contouring and Nanofat Hair Restoration. She's one of the warmest and most welcoming Doctors you'll ever meet and she looks forward to meeting all patients here at Center.

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