UK Warns Against Giving Pfizer Vaccine to People Prone to Allergic Reactions

UK: 90-year old woman was the first person to get the vaccine outside of a vaccine trial. Youtube
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England’s National Health Service warned that people “with a history of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food” should not be given the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech. Two health-care workers who got the vaccine on Tuesday, the first day that the Pfizer vaccine was rolled out in 70 hospitals across the UK, suffered severe allergic reactions. Both recovered after treatment, but the regulator recommended that vaccinations should only be carried out in places where resuscitation facilities are available.

The first 800,000 doses of the Pfizer formula are going to people over 80 who are already hospitalized or are scheduled for outpatient procedures, and nursing home staff.

Authorities hope to get emergency authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to begin deploying it this week in the U.S.

London  England’s National Health Service warned on Wednesday that people “with a history of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food” should not be given the COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech. The warning came after two health care workers who got the vaccine on Tuesday — among the first batch of people to receive an approved vaccine against the coronavirus disease in the western world — suffered adverse reactions.

NHS England said in a statement that both of the medical workers who experienced anaphylactoid reactions to the Pfizer vaccine had a “strong past history of allergic reactions,” and that both had recovered after treatment.

“As is common with new vaccines the MHRA (U.K. drug regulator) have advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination after two people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely yesterday,” NHS national Medical Director for England, Professor Stephen Powis, said in the statement.

The United Kingdom became the first nation in the western world to launch a mass-vaccination program against COVID-19 on Tuesday, administering the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to thousands of people at a network of about 70 hospitals across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There were no other reports of significant adverse reactions to the drug on Tuesday, or “V-Day,” as the government called it. The Pfizer vaccine was approved by Britain’s independent pharmaceutical regulator, the MHRA, for emergency use based on preliminary data from Phase 3 human trials that showed it to be safe and highly effective.

Pfizer, along with U.S. drugmaker Moderna and Britain’s Oxford University working with pharma giant AstraZeneca, are currently waiting for Emergency Use Authorization for their vaccines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The first 800,000 doses of the Pfizer formula — the only vaccine approved by the U.K. thus far for COVID-19 — are going to people over 80 who are already hospitalized or are scheduled for outpatient procedures, and nursing home staff. NHS workers, particularly those administering the vaccine, are also getting some of the first shots, which are made available at individual inoculation sites once the highest-risk patients get theirs.

The U.K. expects to take delivery of another large batch of Pfizer vaccine doses next week, which will enable the NHS to ramp-up its inoculation program in a bid to treat some 25 million of the most vulnerable people in the first wave.

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