A health worker in Alaska developed a severe allergic reaction and was hospitalized after taking Pfizervaccine, state officials said Wednesday. The worker, who is middle-aged and had no history of allergies, had stabilized with treatment but was held in a Juneau hospital to be monitored for another day.
The employee received the vaccine at Bartlett Regional Hospital on Tuesday. Ten minutes after taking the vaccine, “she showed signs of an anaphylactic reaction, with increased heart rate, shortness of breath and rash and redness,” said Dr. Lindy Jones, Bartlett’s director of emergency care. She was given epinephrine and Benadryl, was hospitalized and given an intravenous drip of epinephrine. Her reaction was serious but not life-threatening. ‘
“Throughout the time, she was still excited about getting the vaccine and the benefits it would bring her in the future,” Jones said. The hospital’s statement said she was “still encouraging her colleagues to get the vaccine.”
A second health worker, a man, had a less severe allergic reaction to the vaccine in the same hospital on Wednesday. Ten minutes after receiving the injection, the man experienced “bags under the eyes, light-headedness and a scratchy throat,” Bartlett Hospital said in a statement. “His reaction was not considered anaphylaxis.”
“He felt completely normal within an hour and was released,” after treatment in the emergency department with epinephrine, Pepcid and Benadryl, the hospital said, noting, “He also doesn’t want his experience to negatively impact his colleagues in line for the vaccine. ”
The hospital’s infection prevention officer, Charlee Gribbon, who is in charge of the staff’s vaccination program, said Bartlett “expected these things and we had the right systems in place.”
The hospital confirmed that 144 staff members had been vaccinated as of Wednesday evening, out of a total of about 400 who requested it. Data on the two allergic reactions was shared with the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to Dr. Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, the two Bartlett employees are the only cases of allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine in the country so far.
The FDA approved Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use after clinical studies showed that the injection was nearly 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection in adults between the ages of 18 and 64. None of the 44,000 participants in the phase 3 clinical trial experienced significant adverse effects. reactions.
Dr. Anthony Fauci reminded viewers in a CNBC interview that vaccine safety “goes beyond the boundaries” of clinical trials. “Once you decide to distribute the vaccine on a large scale, you’re talking millions and tens of millions and eventually hundreds of millions of doses. So you may see reactions that you didn’t see in the clinical trials,” he said Wednesday.
Last week, British health officialsthat people with a history of “significant” allergic reactions to vaccines, drugs, or food should not receive the Pfizer vaccine. Two health workers there experienced “side effects” after taking the drug.
“We expected an adverse reaction like this to occur after reports of anaphylaxis were made in England after people there received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, said in a statement Wednesday. “All sites approved to provide vaccinations in Alaska must have drugs on hand to treat an allergic reaction, and that was the case in Juneau.”