Facial Fillers and the COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Need to Know According to Doctors

You may have seen reports that there have been rare instances during the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trials of delayed facial swelling in people who have facial fillers after getting the vaccine. Three of the 30,000 people in the trial reported mild facial swelling in the cheeks and lips as a result of the vaccine.

If you plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine and currently have fillers or plan to get fillers in the future, you likely have some questions about this connection.

We spoke with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Allison Schwedelson and board-certified anesthesiologist and Functional Medicine/Aesthetics physician Dr. Azza Halim to answer the most frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and facial fillers.

1. What causes facial swelling related to the COVID-19 vaccine?

Ultimately, the vaccine is designed to trigger an immune system response, which is why swelling is believed to occur in some people. Dr. Halim notes that similar side effects have also been reported in filler patients who have received the flu vaccine.

Dr. Schwedelson explains the connection further: “Because the vaccine stimulates your immune system (which is a good thing), it becomes aware of anything considered ‘foreign’ in the body. It recognizes the filler and swelling occurs. This is transient.”

2. Can I still get the vaccine if I currently have fillers?

Yes. Drs. Schwedelson and Halim agree that you can still get the COVID-19 vaccine, even if you currently have facial fillers.

“Everyone’s immune response will vary,” says Dr. Halim. “You do not need to postpone getting the vaccine, nor stop doing fillers. Just space your appointment appropriately with the guidance of your provider.”

3. Can I still get fillers if I plan to get the vaccine?

Yes, both doctors agree that you can still get facial fillers if you plan to get the COVID vaccine in the future.

4. What should I do if I experience swelling due to the COVID vaccine?

Both doctors point out that the swelling seen in the Moderna trials was mild and able to be resolved. If you experience any facial swelling after getting the vaccine, let your provider or family physician know. Symptoms should be able to be fairly easily managed with the help of your provider.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. As updates about coronavirus COVID-19 continue to evolve, it’s possible that some information and recommendations in this story have changed since initial publication. We encourage you to check in regularly with resources such as the CDC, the WHO, and your local public health department for the most up-to-date data and recommendations.