News of the case reports comes a day after the UK became the first Western country to roll out a vaccine for widespread use.
British regulators have had two reports of possible allergic reactions from people who participated in the first day of the UK’s COVID-19 mass vaccination program.
Dr June Raine, head of the UK’s medical regulatory agency, MHRA, reported the reactions during his testimony Wednesday before a parliamentary committee.
The UK on Tuesday began immunizing the elderly and medical workers with a vaccine developed by US drug maker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, the world’s first deployment of the vaccine.
“We are looking at two case reports of allergic reactions,” she said. “We know from very extensive clinical trials that this was not a characteristic.
“But if we need to strengthen our advice, now that we have had this experience with vulnerable populations, the groups that have been selected as a priority, we immediately get that advice on the ground,” she said.
Raine’s comments are part of a general discussion about how his agency will continue to monitor people who receive the Pfizer vaccine, which was cleared for emergency use last week.
Health officials have said people who have a “significant history” of allergic reactions should not be given the new vaccine while experts investigate the reactions.
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of the National Health Service in England, said health authorities were acting on a recommendation from the MHRA.
“As is often the case with new vaccines, the MHRA has advised, as a preventive measure, that people with a significant history of allergic reactions should not receive this vaccination after two people with a history of significant allergic reactions react. adversely yesterday, ” Powis said in a report. “Both are recovering well.”
Europe’s worst epidemic
Seventy UK hospitals launched the vaccination program on Tuesday.
The UK has recorded 62,000 COVID-19-related deaths – more than any other country has reported in Europe, and at least 1.7 million cases.
The first 800,000 doses are intended for people over 80 who are either hospitalized or who already have outpatient appointments scheduled, as well as workers in nursing homes. Others will have to wait their turn.
The UK, home to around 67 million people, has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine – enough to inoculate 20 million people, as it is given as two injections, 21 days apart.
There are three routes for transporting the vaccine around the country, which officials say will be difficult as it must be shipped and stored at -70 degrees Celsius (-94F), or lower.
Because the vaccine must be stored at this level, to begin with, people will only be inoculated in hospitals, rather than in nursing homes.