The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has warned the country’s health services not to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people with a significant history of allergic reactions. The warning was issued after two people who were administered the vaccine yesterday developed allergic reactions. The UK became the first country to roll-out a fully tested vaccine after hospitals had started administering the vaccine to patients and medics since yesterday.
According to TIME, the advisory of the MHRA said that any person with a history of significant allergic reactions to vaccines, medicine or food should not be vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The advisory said that vaccinations should be done in places where resuscitation facilities are available. While hospital trusts have already been informed the MHRA was expected to issue a press release today.
The Chief of the MHRA reportedly said at a Parliamentary hearing today that two people, both medical staff, who were administered the vaccine had developed allergic reactions. These two people had histories of anaphylactoid reactions but they were recovering. Medical Director of National Health Service (NHS), Stephen Powis said in a statement, “As is common with new vaccines the MHRA have advised on a precautionary basis that people with 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”.
The vaccine was approved by the MHRA for emergency use based on preliminary data from phase 3 human trials that showed it to be safe and highly effective. The first 800,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to people over 80 years of age who are already hospitalised or are scheduled for outpatient procedures and nursing staff. The NHS workers, especially those administering the vaccine will also get the first doses of the vaccines. However, the vaccine has not been made mandatory for anyone.