People with a history of ‘significant’ allergic reactions shouldn’t have Pfizer jab, UK regulator warns

Health, Fitness & Food

Deputy charge nurse Katie McIntosh administers the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine jabs, to Vivien McKay Clinical Nurse Manager at the Western General Hospital, on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the British history, in Edinburgh, Scotland Britain December 8, 2020.

Andrew Milligan | Reuters

LONDON — People who have a history of “significant” allergic reactions should not currently receive the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the U.K. drug regulator said on Wednesday.

The U.K’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency updated its guidance to British health service trusts on who should receive the vaccine, cautioning that “any person with a history of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food (such as previous history of anaphylactoid reaction or those who have been advised to carry an adrenaline autoinjector) should not receive the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine.” 

The precautionary advice came after two members of Britain’s National Health Service, who received the vaccine on Tuesday, experienced allergic reactions to the shot. Both are recovering well, according to the national medical director for the NHS.

“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,” Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS, said in a statement from NHS England Wednesday.

The U.K. was the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week. On Tuesday it began a massive vaccination drive starting in hospitals, with health and care home workers and those aged over 80 first in line to be inoculated.

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