Two healthcare workers in the Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, Alaska, experienced severe allergic reactions within minutes after being administered the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
According to details, the first worker, a middle-aged woman with no previous record of allergies, suffered an anaphylactic reaction 10 minutes after receiving the vaccine. She experienced an elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, and a rash over her face and torso. She was rushed to the emergency first where she received epinephrine, a standard treatment for severe allergic reactions, and was later shifted to the ICU after her condition exacerbated. She is stable now and recovering as per the latest reports.
The second worker experienced a scratchy throat, lightheadedness, and puffiness in the eyes 10 minutes after receiving the vaccine. He too was rushed to the emergency where he was administered epinephrine, Pepcid, and Benadryl. He was released after an hour and the emergency staff did not categorize his case as anaphylaxis.
Alaskan healthcare authorities have said the vaccination campaign will remain unaffected by these cases, adding that the information is being shared to ensure transparency.
The coronavirus vaccination campaign in the US had started on Monday after the FDA granted emergency-use authorization to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine last week.
The FDA, in an official statement, has said that most Americans with allergies should be safe to receive the vaccine.
However, it warned people who have had severe allergic reactions to vaccines or ingredients in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine should avoid receiving it.
On the other hand, Pfizer has stated that the vaccine comes with a clear warning that appropriate medical treatment and supervision should always be readily available in case of anaphylaxis. It said it would update the labeling language for the vaccine if needed.
Last week, two NHS England workers, with a history of serious allergies, had also experienced severe allergic reactions after receiving the m-RNA-based Pfizer vaccine.
Following the incident, MHRA, UK’s apex drug regulatory body, had recommended people with a history of severe allergic reactions not to get vaccinated by the vaccine.
Although the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was shown to be safe and to be 95% effective in clinical trials involving more than 44,000 participants, 4 cases of severe allergic reactions one week apart have intensified concerns about possible side effects.