The case is the first reported allergic reaction to the vaccine, although health officials have said they expect an occasional allergic reaction – and are willing to treat anyone who suffers from one.
“We thought that such a side effect could occur after reports of anaphylaxis were made in England after people there received the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine,” said Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anna Zink. “Every site that is allowed to give vaccines in Alaska must have medicines to treat an allergic reaction and that was the case in Juneau.”
The worker was among workers who received the vaccine at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau as part of the nationwide rollout of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday.
According to Dr. Lindy Jones, a physician who attended Bartlett Memorial Hospital, the employee was first detained in the vaccine examination area immediately after receiving the picture, and was given Benadryl. When she reported shortness of breath, she was taken to the emergency room.
When Jones saw her in the hospital, he said she was suffering from shortness of breath and a high heart rate, and had developed a rash covering her face and torso.
“I was concerned about an anaphylactic reaction so she took a routine dose of intramuscular epinephrine and responded immediately,” Jones told a news release. She was also given antihistamines.
She still had a high heart rate and was breathing fast – a sign of an allergic reaction – so Jones gave her another dose of epinephrine, in addition to steroids “which is the usual treatment of bread and butter for side effects. anaphylactic, ”he said.
Jones said the employee had no history, which was no longer identified to protect his privacy, of allergies to vaccines. She almost recovers after a night in the intensive care unit.
“She remained committed to receiving the vaccine and its future benefits,” said Jones.
“This was an example of where the system worked well,” Dr. Jay Butler of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the news conference.
“This incident was reported last night to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database. The Alaska State Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has been in close contact with the CDC, and the agency provides guidance and support, ”the state health department said in a statement.
Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine and Biological Products Advisory Committee, said Wednesday that doctors need to be on the lookout for an allergic reaction to the new vaccine.
“This is the kind of thing we need to look at,” Offit told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.
He noted that there had been two reported cases of allergic reactions in Britain, which triggered the vaccine earlier this month.
“There appear to have been a number of people in the United Kingdom who had a severe allergic reaction to this vaccine and had a history of severe allergic reactions,” said Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center and professor of pediatrics at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. .
“Currently, the CDC’s recommendation is that if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to an infectious medical product, you should not receive this vaccine,” said Offit.
“About one in every million people who are vaccinated can have a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. We need to find out what in particular stimulates this sensory reaction. “
An FDA spokesman said the group was working with Pfizer and the CDC to better understand what happened.
“Importantly, the information leaflets for healthcare providers include language that a severe allergic reaction has been reported following the vaccination and that appropriate medical treatment must be used to manage allergic reactions in the workplace. immediately to administer to anyone in the event of an acute anaphylactic reaction, ”the spokesperson told CNN.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America also noted Wednesday that the FDA and CDC are “all monitoring” the reported adverse events.
“There have been recent media reports of reactions to the new Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, originally out of the UK and now one report in the United States raises safety concerns for people with history of severe allergies. It is important to remember that we do not yet have full details of the details of any of these reported reactions, ”Dr Mitchell Grayson, chair of the foundation’s medical scientific advice, said in a written statement on Wednesday.
“We are at an early stage in the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. It is common to see adverse vaccine reactions once a wider distribution to the public begins, even though none of these reactions have been seen in clinical trials, ”said Grayson . “There are more vaccines in the pipeline so there are likely to be more options if one vaccine is shown to work better in some populations than others. It is important to allow science to do its work, not the headlines. Anyone with concerns about allergy risk should speak to their doctor. “
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