The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine has only begun to be rolled out across the UK, but health warnings have already been issued.
UK health authorities have advised anyone with a history of significant allergic reactions should not receive the vaccine. The news comes after two NHS workers experienced reactions from the jabs on Tuesday.
Both workers have now recovered, but they both had an anaphylactoid reaction (normally a skin rash, breathlessness and sometimes a drop in blood pressure) shortly after receiving the vaccine.
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Health regulators have confirmed both workers have a history of serious allergies and carry adrenaline pens with them.
“As is common with new vaccines, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) have advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination,” Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS in England, said in a statement.
Powis told the BBC that both workers were recovering well and that this type of reaction is “common with new vaccines”.
June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, told a panel of lawmakers on Wednesday: “We know from the very extensive clinical trials that this wasn’t a feature, that if we need to strengthen our advice now that we’ve had this experience in the vulnerable populations, we get that advice to the field immediately.”
Tasmanian Senior Jacqui Lambie said the Australian government should think twice before making the vaccine mandatory.
“There are going to be the unintended consequences,” she told Today. “Whether it’s the jab might suit a lot of people, you know you will get a handful where it really has some sort of reaction on them and can actually make them quite sick.
“I think we will have to give and take with that. I salute the UK being the first ones to put their hands up and be guinea pigs. I’m concerned about saying no jab no school, that’s worrying, throwing that out there in the parents in their face, we still don’t know enough about the vaccine and haven’t watched it go through.”
The health warning came just a day after the UK became the first western nation to begin a COVID-19 vaccine program after the MHRA approved the shot last week.