COVID-19 vaccination and lymphedema

It is great news that the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out.

The following information is from the Lymphoedema Support Network for people with lymphedema or at risk for upper extremity lymphedema.

It is very important that you liaise with your GP about your own individual situation as you may have other conditions that need to be taken into account. Professor Mortimer, a lymphedema specialist, shares here some information and guidance in relation to lymphedema and vaccination against COVID-19.

People with lymphoedema do not have a problem with their immune system generally, it is only in the region affected by lymphoedema where immune cells do not work properly.

Immune cells do work properly elsewhere in the body, providing absence of a rare genetic form of lymphoedema affecting all of the body. If this is your case, you will have already been diagnosed with this rare genetic form of lymphedema.

With regard to lymphedema, it is therefore safe to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccine should work for you like for any other individual. However, for those with upper limb swelling or at risk of developing upper limb lymphoedema, it is recommended that injections should be in the unaffected arm.

If you have swelling or are at risk of developing lymphoedema in both arms, it is recommended that both injections should be in either the thigh or buttocks.

Statement approved by Dr. Anna Towers and Marie-Eve Letellier, Co-Scientific Directors of the LAQ.

Reference: Lymphoedema Support Network Revised: 15th December 2020

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