Well being Care Employee Had Critical Allergic Response After Pfizer’s Covid Vaccine
WASHINGTON – A health worker in Alaska had a severe allergic reaction after receiving Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine Tuesday and was hospitalized, according to three people familiar with official reports on the person’s health. The person was still under observation in the hospital on Wednesday morning.
Government officials tried Wednesday to learn more about the case. The worker had no history of drug allergies, but it was unclear whether he or she suffered from other types of allergies, according to a person familiar with the case.
Given that millions of Americans are expected to be vaccinated by the end of the year, the incident is likely to cause federal officials to be even more vigilant for signs of serious side effects. The Alaska recipient’s response was thought to be similar to the anaphylactic reactions two health workers in the UK had after receiving the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine last week. Both recovered.
In Pfizer’s US study of more than 40,000 people, no serious adverse events were identified from the vaccine, although many participants experienced pain, fever, and other side effects. Serious allergic reactions to vaccines are typically associated with the vaccine because of their timing.
A Pfizer spokeswoman, Jerica Pitts, said the company doesn’t have all of the details of the case but is working with local health officials. The vaccine contains information that indicates that medical treatment should be available in the event of a rare anaphylactic event, she said. “We will closely monitor any reports suggestive of serious post-vaccination allergic reactions and update the labeling language as necessary,” said Ms. Pitts.
After workers in the UK got sick, authorities there initially warned against giving the vaccines to anyone with a history of severe allergic reactions. They later clarified their concerns and changed the wording of “severe allergic reactions” to mean that the vaccine should not be given to anyone who has ever had an anaphylactic reaction to a food, medicine, or vaccine. That type of response to a vaccine is “very rare,” they said.
Pfizer officials said the two Britons who had the reaction had severe allergies in the past. A 49-year-old woman has had egg allergies in the past. The other, a 40-year-old woman, had a history of allergies to various drugs. Both wore EpiPen-like devices to inject adrenaline in the event of such a reaction.
Pfizer has said that its vaccine does not contain egg ingredients.
The UK update also said a third patient had a “possible allergic reaction” but did not describe it.
In the United States, federal regulators on Friday gave adults ages 16 and older full approval for the vaccine. Healthcare providers have been warned not to give the vaccine to anyone with a “known history of a severe allergic reaction” to any component of the vaccine. This is a standard warning for vaccines.
Because of the UK cases, FDA officials have announced that they will require Pfizer to step up surveillance for anaphylaxis and provide data on it once the vaccine comes into use. Pfizer also said it is recommended that the vaccine be given in environments that have access to anaphylaxis treatment equipment. Last weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that people with severe allergies can be safely vaccinated, with close monitoring for 30 minutes after receiving the shot.
Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening, with difficulty breathing and drops in blood pressure that usually occur within minutes or even seconds of contact with a food or drug or even a substance such as latex that the person is allergic to.