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Individuals with 'significant' histories of allergic reactions warned against taking Pfizer vaccine

Two NHS staffers in England suffered allergic reactions

Published: December 9, 2020 8:28am

Updated: December 9, 2020 10:18am

Regulators in the United Kingdom are encouraging people with a serious history of allergic reactions to avoid taking the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, following significant reactions in two people who took the shot on Tuesday.

The National Health Service (NHS) of England confirmed Wednesday that two care-providers who received the shot on Tuesday suffered bad anaphylactoid reactions. Both are expected to make  a full recovery. The two individuals reportedly had histories of serious allergic reactions.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of England has issued a precautionary warning to the NHS that any person with a "significant" history of allergic reactions to medicines, food, or vaccines, should avoid receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

"As is common with new vaccines, the MHRA 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," said Professor Stephen Powis, the national medical director for England's NHS.

A spokeswoman for Pfizer said, "We have been advised by MHRA of two yellow card reports that may be associated with allergic reaction due to administration of the Covid-19 BNT162b2 vaccine. As a precautionary measure, the MHRA has issued temporary guidance to the NHS while it conducts an investigation in order to fully understand each case and its causes. Pfizer and BioNTech are supporting the MHRA in the investigation."

"In the pivotal phase three clinical trial, this vaccine was generally well tolerated with no serious safety concerns reported by the independent Data Monitoring Committee. The trial has enrolled over 44,000 participants to date, over 42,000 of whom have received a second vaccination," she continued. 

Dr. June Raine, the Chief executive of the MHRA said it is clear from the "extensive clinical trials" run on the vaccine, that the allergic reactions of these two individuals are not a "feature" of the drug. However, "if we need to strengthen our advice now that we have had this experience in the vulnerable populations ... we will get that advice to the field immediately," she said.

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