All about allergic reactions to COVID vaccines


Like all new drugs, the Covid-19 vaccines that have been authorized in Western countries have safety concerns and side effects. Many people who received the first two blows deployed, one of Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE and another from Moderna Inc. suffered from fever, headache and pain at the injection site. These side effects usually go away quickly. Up to 10 people have had a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis to vaccines.

1. What is anaphylaxis?

The body fights foreign invaders through a variety of mechanisms that include making protective proteins called antibodies, releasing toxins that kill microbes, and mobilizing guardian cells to fight infection. As in any conflict, efforts to fend off infection can sometimes be damaging. In rare cases, it can produce uncontrollable inflammation and tissue swelling during a serious allergic reaction calledanaphylaxis. As much as5%people in the United States have had such a reaction to various substances. It can be fatal if, for example, a person’s airways swell, while deaths arerare. Allergies toinsect bitesand food can cause it, althoughThe most commoncause of death from anaphylaxis in the United States and United Kingdom

2. Where have Covid vaccines triggered cases?

December 19presentationfrom the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported two cases of anaphylaxis associated with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the United Kingdom and six in the United States. A health worker in Alaska who received a vaccine had to be hospitalized overnight. Later that month, in Israel, which is rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, a man suffered anaphylactic shock an hour after receiving an injection,according tothe Jerusalem Post. He said he had had previous reactions to penicillin, the newspaper reported. And a doctor in Boston with a shellfish allergy said he had aAnaphylactic reactionto Moderna’s vaccine. None of the reactions resulted in death.

3. Has anaphylaxis ever been linked to vaccines?

Yes. A 2016studyin the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found 33 confirmed cases of vaccine-induced anaphylaxis occurring after 25,173,965 doses of inoculations, or a rate of approximately 1.31 per million doses. So far, the rate of known cases related to the administration of approximately3 million dosesof Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appears to be more than double, but still very low.

4. How long does the risk last?

Usually not long. Anaphylactic reactions normally occur minutes to hours after exposure to a specific substance, said Michael Kinch, drug development expert and associate vice-chancellor at Washington University in St. Louis. Of the 29 cases where the lag was documented in the 2016 study, symptoms of anaphylaxis started within 30 minutes in eight cases, within 90 minutes in eight others, within two to four hours in 10 cases. , within four to eight hours in two cases, and the next day in one.

5. What do we do about the risk?

Great Britainand U.Sadvised people who are allergic to any component of a Covid vaccine not to receive it. Anaphylaxis can be quickly countered with antihistamines and epinephrine injectors like the Epi-Pen from Mylan NV, which slow or stop immune reactions, and the health workers who administer the vaccine keep these items handy. . These treatments do not negate the beneficial effects of vaccines. In the United States, health workers observe anyone who has received the vaccine for at least 15 minutes after the injection to watch for signs of a reaction. People who have had reactions to a first dose of the vaccine should not receive a second, according to the CDC.

6. Do we know what in the plans is causing the reactions?

It’s not clear. The two main candidates are polyethylene glycol – a chemical found in many foods, cosmetics and medicines – and lipid nanoparticles that encapsulate messenger RNA, a genetic component of vaccines, according to Eric Topol, clinical trials expert and director of Scripps Translational Research Institute. Polyethylene glycol has been previously linked to a handful of cases of anaphylaxis. Once a cause has been reduced, it may be possible to make Covid vaccines even safer than they currently are, Topol said. If other serious non-allergic side effects do occur, he said, “they are also likely to be quite rare and the net benefit of vaccination extremely positive.”

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