Health & Fitness

Individuals with a historical past of "vital" allergic reactions shouldn't have Pfizer shot, warns the UK regulator

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Assistant Nurse Katie McIntosh gives Vivien McKay, Clinical Nurse Manager at Western General Hospital, the first of two Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 stitches on the first day of the largest vaccination program in UK history in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK December 8 2020.

Andrew Milligan | Reuters

LONDON – People with a history of "significant" allergic reactions should not receive the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the UK Medicines Agency said on Wednesday.

The UK Medicines and Health Products Regulator has updated its guidance to UK health authorities on who should get the vaccine after two members of the UK's National Health Service had allergic reactions to the shot. Both are recovering well, according to the NHS national medical director.

"People with a history of significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, drug, or food (such as a history of anaphylactoid reaction or someone recommended to wear an adrenaline auto-injector) should not receive the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine received, "the regulator said.

Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS, said such a precaution was "common with new vaccines".

The UK was the first country to approve and administer the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. A massive vaccination campaign began on Tuesday that began in hospitals, with health and nursing home workers and those over 80 being vaccinated first.

Dr. June Raine, head of MHRA, told a UK government selection committee on Wednesday that the regulator would monitor the vaccine in real time as soon as it is used.

"Last night we looked at two case reports of allergic reactions," she said.

"We know from extensive clinical studies that this was not a feature. However, if we need to step up our advice after having this experience in vulnerable populations, the priority groups, we will get that advice on the spot immediately."

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Katherine Clark