COVID Vaccines and Dermal Fillers – My Take

Today, I’d like to spend a few minutes discussing my take on the recent reports of people receiving the COVID vaccine and having or receiving dermal fillers.  As the COVID vaccines are being rolled out, I strongly recommend that everyone get their vaccines as soon as you are eligible.  As reported in recent FDA updates, there has been concerns that people who have had dermal fillers can have had some swelling and redness in the sites that they have had their dermal fillers. This is what we know at this time.

First, dermal fillers have been around for a long time. We know a great deal about their use and their safety in smoothing wrinkles, enhancing lip contours, and in volumizing areas such as the cheeks and hollows on the face.  It has been reported by the American Society of Plastic Surgery that about 2.7 million people each year receive dermal fillers. The incidence of adverse events is very low when injected by skilled and trained injectors.

Second, in the clinical trials that were performed for the approvals of the COVID vaccines, there were 3 cases reported where patients had swelling and redness in the areas and that the fillers were received after their vaccines.  That is 3 cases reported out of 30,000 patients that were involved in the Moderna trials. Not much more information was given other than swelling. What has been reported was that all three were mild and they all responded very quickly to treatment with either steroids and/or antihistamines.

According to experts in allergy, immunology, and dermatology, having these kinds of responses is not totally unusual or unexpected when one receives a vaccine.  With a vaccine, the body is producing or activating an immune response (which is good) but can also “recognize” something that is foreign in our system, such as a dermal filler. It can cause a local response, like the ones that have been reported.  And again, from the trial data that has been reported, these cases have all been mild and have responded well to the treatments given. This phenomenon has also been reported in the past with both the flu and shingles vaccines, once again, there have been no long term effects noted from any of these vaccines as related to dermal fillers.

So, what do we all do?  As I said, please get your vaccines when you can.  Getting COVID is much worse than a very rare event like these.  And if you are contemplating receiving a dermal filler, it is fine to get it. We will continue to inject these as we have been for years.  If you want to wait for a time after your vaccine to get a filler, than that is fine too. Waiting 2-3 weeks after your second dose is reasonable as well.  But please don’t be scared off because of what you hear in the press. Rely on science, rely on experts in these fields, and speak to your provider if you have any questions or concerns.

I hope this helps those of you who have any questions or concerns related to this subject. As I always say, make sure that anything done in the cosmetic arena, is done in an office with Board Certified Dermatologists or Plastic/Facial Plastic or Oculoplastic Surgeons. That way the treatment is supervised, we are the true experts with these products and procedures.