With nearly 5 million Americans vaccinated, only 29 have had confirmed allergic reactions


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Memorial Healthcare System pharmacist Diana Carolina receives a Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at Memorial Healthcare System December 14, 2020 in Miramar, Florida. Joe Raedle / Getty Images
  • The CDC has released its first COVID-19 vaccine safety data set.

  • So far, only 29 of the 5 million people vaccinated have had confirmed allergic reactions after vaccination in the United States.

  • “Our vaccine safety systems haven’t picked up any worrying signals,” CDC’s Nancy Messonnier said on a call with reporters Wednesday.

  • People with a history of anaphylaxis should wait 30 minutes after vaccination before going home to make sure they are well.

  • The only adults the CDC recommends NOT to get the vaccine are those who have had a severe reaction after a previous injection of COVID-19.

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The chances of a severe allergic reaction after COVID-19 vaccination seem pretty slim.

According to the first published data on allergic reactions after vaccination by the US Centers and Disease Control, only 29 cases of confirmed anaphylaxis have been reported among the 5 million Americans who have so far received injections of Moderna or Pfizer. .

“Our vaccine safety systems haven’t picked up any worrying signals,” CDC’s Nancy Messonnier said on a call with reporters Wednesday. “This means that at present, the known and potential benefits of current COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the known and potential risks of contracting COVID-19.”

The CDC tracks bad reactions to vaccines in different ways. One is a new texting system they are using to ask patients about symptoms after receiving their first (of two) shots. This new self-report goes hand in hand with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which is co-managed by the CDC and the FDA.

The only adults the CDC recommends so far should do not taking a dose of COVID-19 vaccine are those who have a bad reaction after their first injection.

Everyone should be okay with getting the shot when it’s their turn. But, people with a history of severe allergies may want to exercise extra caution, the CDC said, and talk to the person administering their vaccine before getting it.

This is the first comprehensive report on the reactions

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Healthcare workers receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center on December 16, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

More than 350,000 people have died from COVID-19 across the United States so far, and about 2,000 more are dying every day.

The Moderna and Pfizer shootings began to enter the arms of healthcare workers and elderly Americans in late December.

Although there has been scattered information about serious allergic reactions after vaccination in the US and UK, the new CDC report is the first full tally of confirmed anaphylactic reactions after COVID-19 vaccination in the states -United.

These reported reactions took place during the first week and a half of vaccine distribution, December 14-23, when Pfizer’s vaccine became available to healthcare workers and nursing home residents across the country. .

In the weeks that followed, the CDC confirmed at least eight more cases of anaplylaxis, including at least one after the Moderna vaccine was administered, for a total of 29 reactions nationwide.

Allergic patients should talk to their vaccinator and wait 30 minutes before going home

The data suggests that allergic reactions after vaccination are extremely rare, but there were some trends.

Of the 21 people who had anaphylaxis after those first injections in December, four had a history of sulfa allergies and two had egg allergies. Four patients had no history of allergies and the majority had never had an anaphylactic reaction to anything before, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions about what could have caused these events.

Most reactions have occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination, which is why the CDC recommends that providers have epinephrine on hand (for the treatment of allergic reactions) on hand with vaccines.

Of the 21 cases recorded by the CDC, 19 patients received epinephrine injections. At least four patients have been hospitalized, with problems such as wheezing, rashes and in at least one, difficulty breathing, but all have recovered.

“It is important that anyone who has had anaphylaxis talks to their vaccinator and makes sure that if they choose to be vaccinated, they wait for the 30 minutes,” said Dr Thomas Clark, who has been monitoring allergic reactions. after the CDC vaccination. on the call.

“You know, many, many people with a history of allergies have been vaccinated without incident.”

That being said, the rate of anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination, at about 11.1 cases per 1 million doses, is about 10 times higher than with flu shots.

“The rate of anaphylaxis from COVID-19 vaccines may seem high compared to flu shots, but I want to reassure you that this is still a rare finding,” Messonnier said.

Dr Paul Offit, a vaccine expert who served on the FDA’s independent advisory board for vaccine clearances for Pfizer and Moderna, says it’s important that the FDA and CDC continue to monitor the safety of these new vaccines. , but it is also essential to fall victim to “the tyranny of small numbers” and to find a relationship between rare problems (like Bell’s palsy) and the vaccine for now.

“Although a health event can occur after being vaccinated, the vaccine is not always the cause,” Messonnier said.

Do you have a story to share about immunization? Contact public health reporter Hilary Brueck by email.

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