COVID-19 vaccines and their extreme allergic reactions are far and few between — these are some of the side effects to watch out for
- The US, UK, European Union, India and other countries are currently mulling over the approval of COVID-19 vaccines for the masses amid growing concerns over allergic reactions.
- Data shows that more than 1.9 million people in the US have received a Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine dose, but only ten cases of anaphylaxis are under investigation.
- Only one case of anaphylaxis has been reported after receiving Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
In the US, all eyes are on Pfizer and Moderna. Meanwhile, in the UK, the Pfizer vaccine has been administered to more than 600,000 citizens. All eyes are on the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine’s pending approval.
As countries rush to make the vaccine available, there are growing concerns around the reported adverse allergic reactions.
Allergic reactions to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine
Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine was the first to roll out. It also has the most reports of severe allergic reactions compared to the only other vaccine which has approval so far, Moderna.
Federal agencies in the US are investigating at least ten cases of people who suffered anaphylaxis — a severe allergic reaction — after receiving Pfizer’s vaccine. In Alaska, two cases reported tongue swelling, hoarse voice and difficulty breathing within ten minutes of taking the first dose.
At least two health care workers in Britain have also experienced severe allergic reactions after receiving the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month. They are understood to have suffered an ‘anaphylactoid’ reaction, which involves skin rashes, breathlessness and sometimes a drop in blood pressure.
This is different from anaphylaxis reactions, which can be fatal if immediate medical aid isn’t administered.
The UK has advised that anyone with a history of anaphylaxis to medicine or food shouldn’t get the vaccine.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) officials have discussed some cases. Still, they have not determined whether an ingredient in the vaccine caused allergic responses. However, some researchers believe that polyethylene glycol (PEG) could be responsible.
Allergic reactions to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine
The first case of an extreme adverse side-effect to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine was reported last week. A doctor in Boston said he developed a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine within minutes of administration. He has a prior history of being allergic to shellfish.
David Kibbe, the spokesman for Boston Medical Centre, confirmed the allergic reaction. “He was taken to the Emergency Department, evaluated, treated, observed and discharged. He is doing well today” Kibbe said in a statement.
Moderna’s spokesman, Ray Jordan, communicated that the company will not comment on individual cases but that the company’s medical safety team is looking into the issue.
To battle the overload of misinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming vaccine, the CDC will be launching a new portal on the agency website with information on reactions to COVID-19 vaccines starting this week.
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