NIH Begins Study on Rare Vaccine Allergic Reactions

A nurses fills a syringe at a pop up vaccinations site in  Staten Island. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The National Institute of Health has announced it is studying the rare cases of allergic reaction to the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine.

These cases have been exceedingly rare, and most of those occurred in people who had a history of severe allergic reactions.

The CDC, which monitors reports of reactions, said that were approximately 11.1 reactions per 1 million Pfizer vaccinations and 2.5 reactions per 1 million Moderna vaccinations, Fox News 5 reported. People with allergies have been encouraged to not get the Pfizer vaccine out of concern of a potential reaction.

Of the first  1,893,360 doses of the Pfizer vaccine distributed in the United States, there were a reported 21 cases of severe allergic reactions.

Of the first 4 million Moderna doses distributed, there were 10 severe allergic reactions reported.

Because of concerns of allergic reactions, people are instructed to wait at the location they were vaccinated for 15 minutes, in case they react negatively. A reaction would occur within 4 hours, and possibly include swelling or wheezing. If someone has a severe reaction, they may require an EpiPen or even hospitalization.

If someone does have an allergic reaction after their first dose, their second dose would be a different type of vaccine.

The NIH’s study will involve 3,400 adults between the ages of 18-69 at allergy research centers throughout the country. Approximately 60% of the people enrolled will have serious allergies or a rare blood condition that can cause life-threatening reactions. The other 40% will have no allergies. Overall, 2/3rds of the participants will be women, because women have consistently reacted more seriously than men.

The participants will be divided into groups and receive either a vaccine or a placebo.

“The public understandably has been concerned about reports of rare, severe allergic reactions to the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “The information gathered during this trial will help doctors advise people who are highly allergic or have a mast cell disorder about the risks and benefits of receiving these two vaccines.”

He stressed that the protective benefits of the vaccine “far outweigh the risks” of a rare allergic reaction.


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