COVID-19 | The Pfizer Vaccine Not Recommended For People With “Significant” Allergies

The UK vaccine governing body has urged people who have a history of “significant” allergic reactions not to be vaccinated with the new COVID-19 injection from Pfizer / BioNtech.

Only 24 hours after first vaccination in western countries, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) made the decision after two workers from the National Health Service (NHS) experienced anaphylactic reactions after receiving the vaccine on Tuesday, the first day of the UK mass vaccination program.

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that can cause shortness of breath, swelling of the face and tongue, as well as dizziness, among other symptoms. Staff members reacted shortly after the vaccine was administered.

The two people were said to have a history of allergic reactions and were carrying adrenaline auto-injectors (injections to be given in the event of anaphylactic shock).

“Two people with a history of allergic reactions have reacted badly,” said Professor Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director. “They are both recovering well,” he added.

Based on the MHRA warning, the British National Health Service has issued a new warning on the Pfizer vaccine, which reads:

1. “Anyone with a history of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, drug, or food (such as a history of anaphylactoid reaction or those who have been advised to carry an adrenaline auto-injector) should not receive the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine.

2. “Resuscitation devices must be available at all times for all vaccines. Vaccination should only be carried out in facilities where resuscitation measures are available” recommends the NHS.

England’s National Health Service has said “they are looking for more information and will give more details after the investigation.”

Calls to calm

Although most people can expect to experience some injection site discomfort and possible mild flu-like symptoms after vaccination, a serious allergic reaction is very rare, according to authorities.

As a new medicine in the UK, the vaccine is being monitored for any side effects and any suspected adverse reactions are being reported to the NHS through the Yellow Card scheme.

The United Kingdom – the country hardest hit by the pandemic in Europe with more than 62 fatalities – became the first country to authorize the Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine for emergency use. It has secured 40 million doses, which can vaccinate 20 million people, since it takes two separate injections for it to work.

The British government will only immunize people over the age of 16, with around 55 million people in the UK over this age.