The BBC is reporting that people with “a significant” history of allergic reactions are being told not to take the new Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine.
This after investigators are looking into two adverse reactions on the first day of issuing the new vaccine. They are both National Health Service workers that had an anaphylactoid reaction, which tends to involve a skin rash, breathlessness and sometimes a drop in blood pressure. This is not the same as anaphylaxis which can be fatal.
Both NHS workers have a history of serious allergies and carry adrenaline pens around with them and were able to recognize the problem and inject themselves before too much harm was caused.
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the National Health Service in England, said “We know from the very extensive clinical trials that this wasn’t a feature. But If we need to strengthen our advice, now that we have had this experience with the vulnerable populations, the groups who have been selected as a priority, we get that advice to the field immediately. As is common with new vaccines the MHRA have advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination after two people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely yesterday. Happy to report that both are recovering well.”
Those who received the vaccine will be monitored closely for the first 12 hours to make sure there's no reactions. Prof Peter Openshaw, an expert in immunology at Imperial College London, said: "No effective medicine is without side effects so you have to balance the risk and the benefit. One in a thousand people in the UK have died after being infected with coronavirus. The trials reported one allergic reaction per thousand people immunized".