The UK’s world-first Covid-19 vaccine rollout has hit problems within 24 hours after anyone with a serious allergy to medicines or food was told not to have the Pfizer jab because two NHS staff fell ill just after being vaccinated on V-Day.
The number of people set to be barred is not known, but up to 7million people in Britain have allergies severe enough to require medical care, according to the NHS, while around 250,000 people need to carry an EpiPen at all times.
Today Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) gave precautionary advice to all 50 NHS trusts now vaccinating the population that anyone who has a history of ‘significant’ allergic reactions should not receive the vaccine.
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS in England, said: ‘The MHRA have advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination after two people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely yesterday. Both are recovering well.’
Both the unnamed healthcare workers needed immediate treatment but are ‘recovering well’ after they developed symptoms shortly after receiving the jab on the first day of Britain’s biggest ever mass vaccination programme yesterday.
It is not known if either person needed to use the EpiPens they both carry with them at all times.
Despite the two allergy cases the Government is today continuing to vaccinate between 5,000 and 7,000 people per day across the UK with 800,000 Pfizer doses already in hospitals and millions more on the way.
The two NHS staff suffered an anaphylactoid reaction to the vaccine, which is milder than anaphylaxis, and tends to involve a rash, shortness of breath, swelling of the face and tongue or a drop in blood pressure, the NHS says.
In the US vaccine trial carried out by Pfizer, 137 out of around 19,000 people given the vaccine had one or more of these reactions. But 111 who got the placebo also had allergic reactions.
Read more; Warning over UK vaccine rollout as two NHS staff given jab suffer ‘anaphylactoid reaction’: Regulators urge people with history of ‘significant’ allergies NOT to have Pfizer injection – just 24 hours after Britain’s mass inoculation kicked off