About 1 in 100,000 people has had a serious allergic reaction to the first Covid-19 vaccine, a rate higher than the flu vaccine, but still quite rare, US health officials said.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Wednesday outlined 21 cases of anaphylaxis in the first 1.9 million recipients of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine, at a rate of 11.1 per million doses administered. No deaths from anaphylaxis have been reported, the CDC said.
The CDC said it has also seen the reactions in recipients of the Moderna Inc. injection, with 29 confirmed cases of anaphylaxis between the two vaccines so far. Still, the CDC sticks to its recommendation that most people should still get the shots, saying the risks around the vaccine are less than the risk of a serious case of Covid-19.
"Even at 11 cases per million doses administered, it is a very safe vaccine," said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "I continue to believe that the risk of Covid, and the risk of poor outcomes, especially in seniors, makes it imperative that people go ahead and get vaccinated as soon as they get it."
The only exceptions outlined by the CDC are people with a known allergy to the ingredients of the vaccines and people who had a reaction to the first dose of a Covid vaccine.
However, Messonnier emphasized that people with a history of allergic reactions to medications and severe allergic reactions from any cause should be observed for half an hour after the shots and that healthcare providers should be prepared with allergic reaction treatments such as the EpiPen.
Regulatory agencies are closely monitoring the safety of Covid-19 vaccines as they are rolled out, she added, noting, “We are not seeing any troubling signs. All we have seen are these serious allergic reactions. "
Severe allergic reactions to vaccines are an established, although uncommon, phenomenon. They occur about 1.3 times per million doses of flu vaccine administered, and with other vaccines they have been observed at rates of 12 to 25 per million doses, although the studies were small.
Many post-vaccination safety issues are also coincidental, Messonnier noted, saying, "the vaccine isn't always the cause."
The severe allergic reactions seen with early Covid-19 vaccines have not significantly impacted distribution plans, Messonnier said.
Of the patients who had severe allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine, four had to be hospitalized and the remainder treated in the emergency room. CDC officials said all 20 patients it had information about had recovered.
& # 39; It's an unusual complication. It's reversible and treatable, & # 39; & # 39; said Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease physician, at an online event at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
Top photo: A pharmacist administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to a resident of the Brooklyn Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare nursing home in the Brooklyn borough of New York on January 5.
Copyright 2021 Bloomberg.
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