Severe allergic reaction in a US healthcare professional minutes after Pfizer was shot

By: Reuters |

17 December 2020 10:40:18

A syringe contains a dose of a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine found in a canister, Wednesday, December 16, 2020, during a vaccine clinic at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. The hospital, Alaska’s largest, plans to vaccinate 485 people this week. ((Loren Holmes / Anchorage Daily News via AP, Pool)

An Alaskan health worker had a severe allergic reaction after receiving Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, but it is now stable, public health authorities said Wednesday.

The adverse reaction in the person, a few minutes after taking Pfizer on Tuesday, was similar to two cases reported last week in Britain.

The UK medical regulator said anyone with a history of anaphylaxis or severe allergic reactions to a medicine or food should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said most Americans with allergies should be sure they are getting the vaccine. He said only people who have previously had severe allergic reactions to vaccines or the ingredients of this particular vaccine should avoid getting the injection.

The Alaskan patient had no history of allergic reactions, Lindy Jones, the director of emergency room in the capital Juneau where the patient was treated in a virtual briefing, told reporters.

Symptoms in the middle-aged patient resolved after being given epinephrine to treat allergy, Jones said.

The patient was still in Juneau’s Bartlett Regional Hospital on Wednesday, being monitored.

Pfizer said the vaccine comes with a clear warning that appropriate medical treatment and supervision should always be readily available in the event of anaphylaxis, but will update the vaccine’s labeling language if necessary.

Administration of the vaccine began Monday in the United States, following the emergency use authorization last week. The first doses were reserved for healthcare workers and nursing home residents

Former FDA chief scientist Jesse Goodman called the allergic reaction worrying, but said more information is needed to better understand the risks.

“What we need to know is what the denominator is: how many doses have been administered? Will this be something that will be seen with a higher incidence with this vaccine than others? “Goodman said.” We’ll have to find out about these things to know if that changes the advice or how it’s used.

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