Vaccine warning after two suffer allergic reactions

People with a history of 'significant' allergic reactions should not have the coronavirus jab.

Vaccine warning after two suffer allergic reactions Boonchai Wedmakawand via Getty Images
Vaccine: People with a history of 'significant' allergic reactions should not currently receive the Pfizer vaccine.

UK regulators have warned people with a history of “significant” allergic reactions should not currently receive the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

Two NHS staff members who received the jab on Tuesday – on the first day of the mass vaccination programme – suffered an allergic reaction, the health service in England confirmed. Both are recovering.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has given the precautionary advice that anyone who has a history of “significant” allergic reactions to medicines, food or vaccines should not receive the vaccine.

Professor Jason Leitch, Scotland’s national clinical director, said this was “rare” but “not entirely unexpected”.

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Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, he said: “We take this very very seriously as you’d expect us to do.

“This is a rare event but actually, to the clinicians in the vaccine programme, this is not entirely unexpected. I don’t wish to seem cold, it is rare but not unexpected.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said they are not aware of anyone in Scotland at this stage, who has experienced a similarly severe reaction to those reported in England.

Prof Leitch said every individual having the vaccine will be asked if they have had a severe reaction to a drug or food that’s required them to have adrenalin or visit accident and emergency.

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And if that is the case, he added: “For them, for now, until we see how the numbers work out over time, they will not be receiving this vaccine.”

The NHS in England said all involved with the vaccination programme have been informed.

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS in England, said: “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.

“Both are recovering well.”