Healthcare worker suffers ‘severe’ allergic reaction to Pfizer vaccine

(ABC News) – An Alaskan healthcare worker was admitted to the hospital Wednesday, shortly after receiving the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The unnamed employee at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, Alaska, showed “signs of an anaphylactic reaction” 10 minutes after the vaccination, “with increased heart rate, shortness of breath and skin rash and redness,” according to a press release .

“She was given epinephrine and Benadryl, was admitted to the hospital, and placed on an intravenous epinephrine drip,” Bartlett Regional Hospital said in a statement Wednesday night. “Her response was bad but she was not alive.”

The employee, who had no previous experience of allergies or side effects from vaccines, is “recovering and staying another night in hospital under observation,” according to the press release.

“She continues to encourage her colleagues to get vaccinated,” the hospital said.

This is the first adverse allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, which was licensed for emergency use in the United States on Friday. went.

A second employee at Bartlett Regional Hospital “experienced eye puffiness, a light head, and a sore throat” 10 minutes after being injected with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday, according to the press release.

“His reaction was not considered anaphylaxis,” Bartlett Regional Hospital said in a statement Wednesday night. “He was taken to the Emergency Department and prescribed epinephrine, Pepcid and Benadryl. He felt completely back to normal within an hour and was released. ”

“He also does not want his experience to have a negative impact on his colleagues who are preparing for the vaccination,” the hospital said.

Both incidents were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which Bartlett Regional Hospital said “provides guidance and support. ”The symptoms in each case were detected in the 15-min observation period after inoculation recommended by the CDC.

“We were expecting these things and we had the right systems in place,” said Charlee Gribbon, infection control professional at Bartlett Regional Hospital, which oversees major activity to vaccinate so many of staff, in a Wednesday night statement.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink said there are “no plans to change the timing, dosing or regimen of our vaccine.”