The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that only 21 people of the 1.9 million vaccinated for COVID-19 developed severe allergic reactions to the vaccines. The 10-day vaccination held from December 14-23 and the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was used. The CDC said almost 21 people had a history of allergic reactions and that they were discharged to go home after they recovered from the reactions.
The CDC’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Nancy Messonnier, said the risks of reacting to the vaccines are dwarfed by the protection benefits of the vaccination. The director said the incidence of allergic reactions is very rare and far-paced, and cannot be compared with the records of more than 2,000 people dying daily from the pandemic.
“Of course, we all would hope that any vaccine would have zero adverse events, but even at 11 cases per million doses administered, it’s a very safe vaccine,” Messonnier said. “The risk from COVID and poor outcomes from COVID is still more than the risk of a severe outcome from the vaccine.”
Although the statistics captured for the study were related to the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine which was administered during that period, health authorities said people would also likely react to Moderna vaccines and those from other pharmaceutical companies if they have a tendency for allergic reactions. To this end, health professionals are urged to monitor recipients of vaccines for up to 30 minutes for reactions before they are allowed to go home.
According to Messonnier, people who tend to react severely to vaccines, insect stings, food, and environmental factors, are advised to consult with their doctors first before receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.
The CDC Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines underwent very rigorous approval processes before they were certified safe and effective for use. In terms of allergic reactions, the federal health agency said the rate of severe reactions to the flu vaccine is 1.3 people per 1 million vaccinations compared with coronavirus vaccines which are 11.1 cases per 1 million vaccinations.
The 21 people that experienced severe reactions to the Pfizer vaccine were treated with epinephrine and other reversal drugs, and eight other people also experienced reactions after the 10-day study was concluded. Many of the people developed symptoms within 15 minutes of receiving the vaccine. Seven of them had a history of anaphylaxis and 17 had histories of allergic reactions.
“The good news is how rare these allergic reactions are and how readily recognizable and treatable they are,” said Paul A. Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Yes, there’s an extremely small risk, but not a single person has died from the allergic reaction, while plenty of people have died from the virus. The risk of adverse reaction is so small. People have a higher chance of getting hurt driving to the clinic for a shot than from the shot itself.”