LONDON - U.K. regulators have had two reports of possible allergic reactions from people who took part in the first day of Britain’s mass coronavirus vaccination program against COVID-19.
Dr. June Raine, head of the U.K.’s medical regulatory agency, reported those reactions as she testified Wednesday to a Parliamentary committee. The U.K. began vaccinating elderly people and medical workers with a vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech on Tuesday, the world’s first rollout of the vaccine.
“We’re looking at two case reports of allergic reactions,” she said. “We know from the very extensive clinical trials that this wasn’t a feature.”
“But If we need to strengthen our advice, now that we have had this experience with the vulnerable populations, the groups who have been selected as a priority, we get that advice to the field immediately,” she said.
For the time being, regulators say that those with a “significant history” of allergic reactions shouldn’t receive the new Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the National Health Service in England, said health authorities were acting on a recommendation from the Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, the nation’s medicines regulator.
“As is common with new vaccines, the MHRA has 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,” Powis said in a statement. “Both are recovering well.”
The United Kingdom will continue to monitor people who receive the Pfizer vaccine, which was authorized for emergency use last week.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.