ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A Juneau health care worker was taken to hospital and treated for a severe allergic reaction after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, hospital and health officials said Wednesday.
The worker was feeling flush and was given an antihistamine about 10 minutes after receiving the vaccine Tuesday afternoon, authorities said. She felt short of breath and was rushed to the emergency room, said Dr. Lindy Jones, medical director of the emergency room at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau.
When she arrived at the emergency room, where Jones was attending physician, she had an elevated heart rate and a red rash on her face and torso, he said. Jones began treating her for anaphylaxis with epinephrine and more antihistamines, to which she responded.
But her symptoms began to recur, he said, and she was treated with more epinephrine as well as steroids. When providers tried to remove the worker from the epinephrine, her symptoms came back before they resolved again, Jones said, and she was transferred to the intensive care unit for overnight observation, he said. She was in a stable condition “and doing well” Wednesday, Jones said.
Jones said the plan was to put her off Wednesday night, as long as she has no other symptoms and will stay off all medications, Jones said.
“She remained committed to receiving the vaccine and its future benefits,” said Jones.
The worker had a positive outlook, described as middle-aged, Jones said, and was disappointed not to receive a second dose of the vaccine.
“She encouraged us all to move on,” Jones said.
At Bartlett, vaccinations began Tuesday and nearly 100 front-line hospital workers have been vaccinated so far, according to Kathryn Bausler, a hospital spokeswoman.
The worker had no history of allergic reactions and is not allergic to certain vaccines, Jones said.
The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers a history of severe allergic reactions to some other vaccines as a “warning,” but does not see it as a reason to avoid the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the CDC, said Wednesday in a video call with reporters.
The CDC recommends that the vaccine be administered in facilities that have provision for a possible adverse allergic reaction and can monitor those with a history of such a reaction for 30 minutes after vaccination instead of the usual 15 minutes, said Butler, who is also the former chief medical officer of Alaska.
The safety of the COVID-19 vaccine is a “high priority,” Butler said, and is balanced against its risks. The Juneau employee response is the only such case reported to date in the United States.
Butler encouraged anyone who received the vaccine to enroll in a federal program in which vaccine recipients receive daily registration texts for the first week after vaccination. Butler said he wants to maintain transparent communication with the public.
“It’s important that people understand what’s happening, and what’s not happening – what we know and what isn’t,” Butler said.
The Alaskan worker’s situation made national and international news on Wednesday.
Two health workers in Britain have had anaphylactic reactions and recovered after being vaccinated when that country began vaccinating people last week. Tests in the United States found no real problems among participants, although many had minor side effects including pain and fever, the New York Times reported.
Alaska received a shipment of the vaccines, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, on Sunday night and began the vaccination this week. Prioritized first pictures include frontline health care workers, vaccines, community health support, long-term care facility residents and staff as well as emergency workers.
Pfizer answered questions about the incident saying it was aware of the Alaska incident but did not yet have all the details. Participants in the third phase of their drug trial were banned if they had historically received negative feedback about vaccines or ingredients in Pfizer vaccines, officials from the drug dealer said in a statement prepared.
“Overall, no safety markers of concern were identified in our clinical trials, suggesting that there was no sign of vaccine-related adverse allergic reactions,” they wrote. “However, adverse event reports outside of clinical trials are an important part of our vigilance activity and we will review all available information on this case and all subsequent adverse event reports. the vaccine. ”
(Anchorage Daily News reporter Annie Berman contributed to this story.)
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Copyright 2020 Tribune Content Group.