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Bad reaction to MiraLAX? Experts say to avoid COVID-19 vaccine

Laxatives like MiraLAX contain polyethylene glycol, which is also in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Viewer Shann Alle raised an important point concerning COVID-19 vaccinations. Specifically, she is worried about polyethylene glycol.  

"It almost closed up my throat," Alle said. "[I] had to go to the emergency room."

Alle is just one of many people who have a severe allergic reaction to MiraLAX and GoLytlely, the laxatives people have to drink before colonoscopies or when they are constipated.

Those laxatives contain polyethylene glycol, which is also in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Dr. Arveen Bhasin, an allergist-immunologist at the Mayo Clinic said if you had severe reactions to MiraLAX or GOLytely, you should not take COVD-19 vaccines currently available. 

Credit: Mayo Clinic

However, Bhasin said it is important to understand how severe of a reaction is dangerous. She said if you notice symptoms of anaphylaxis, including lip swelling, tongue swelling, throat swelling, difficulty breathing, the vaccine could be dangerous. 

There are other symptoms patients should be aware of as well.

"Your blood pressure is dropping, you're getting light-headed, those are signs of allergic reaction," Bhasin said. 

Polyethylene glycol is also called "PEG" for short.

Credit: Dr. Arveen Bhasin

Although it is well-known people allergic to MiraLAX should avoid both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, Bhasin said it is unclear if the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, expected to be approved in the come weeks, will have the same effect.

We don't know," Bhasin said. "That data is still out."  

Bhasin said the anaphylactic reactions did not show up in the clinical trials. Unfortunately, people will have to wait until it is released to general public to see how the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will fare.

As with anything, it is important to always check with your doctor before moving forward with the COVID-19 vaccine.

We welcome your questions about the vaccine. Just look for our Vaccine Team on our First Coast News app.