Lymphedema and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Lymphedema and COVID-19 Vaccine

(Source: Lymphatic Education & Research Network)

People with Lymphedema do not have compromised immune systems by nature of their lymphedema diagnosis but could have other associated medical conditions that may make them more vulnerable. Patients with LD, including those with lymphatic malformations, may also be more vulnerable due to their underlying and associated conditions.

Until a vaccine is readily available, all patients with LD and LE should follow current safety guidelines, including wearing masks, social distancing, and handwashing. Seasonal flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccines if you are not up to date are recommended. We anticipate that most patients with LD and LE should be candidates to receive the currently recommended vaccines when they are available and after sufficient study has been undertaken.

LE&RN reminds patients with lymphedema that, if feasible, they should avoid receiving the vaccine in an edematous portion of the body.


How CDC is Making COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations | CDC

CDC is making coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination recommendations for the United States based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). ACIP is a federal advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the U.S. public.

Since the pandemic began, ACIP has been holding special meetings to review U.S. data on COVID-19 and the vaccines in development to help prevent it. Before making recommendations, ACIP plans to review all available clinical trial information, including descriptions of:

  • Who is receiving each candidate vaccine (age, race, ethnicity, underlying medical conditions.)
  • How different groups respond to the vaccine.
  • Side effects experienced.


When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes or approves a COVID-19 vaccine, ACIP will quickly hold a public meeting to review all available data about that vaccine (sign up to receive email updates whenever ACIP’s Meeting Information is updated). From these data, ACIP will then vote on whether to recommend the vaccine and, if so, who should receive it.


Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has issued interim recommendations for the use of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States. Both vaccines are lipid nanoparticles formulated, nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccines encoding the prefusion spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

These considerations for mRNA vaccines only apply to the currently authorized vaccine products in the United States (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines). Considerations will be updated as additional information becomes available or if additional vaccine products are authorized.

Severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any component of the vaccine is a contraindication to vaccination for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Anaphylactic reactions in persons who received the PfizerBioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials have been reported. While these reports are further investigated, the CDC considers a history of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any other vaccine or injectable therapy (e.g., intramuscular, intravenous, or subcutaneous) as a precaution but not a contraindication to vaccination for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines (as these vaccines contain ingredients in common). These persons may still receive mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, but they should be counseled about the unknown risks of developing a severe allergic reaction and balance these risks against the benefits of vaccination.


LE&RN reminds patients with LE and LD to consult with their health care professionals regarding further guidance for receiving the vaccines in light of other medical conditions that they may have and with any personal health concerns.


Download the LE/LD and the COVID-19 Vaccine flyer here