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US health worker has allergic reaction to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine

Britain warns those with allergies not to take it, but US says most should be safe

An Alaskan health worker had a serious allergic reaction after getting Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine but is now stable, public health authorities said on Wednesday.

The adverse reaction in the person, minutes after taking the Pfizer shot on Tuesday, was similar to two cases reported last week in Britain.

Britain's medical regulator has said that anyone with a history of anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reactions to a medicine or food, should not get the vaccine.

But the US Food and Drug Administration has said that most Americans with allergies should be safe to receive the vaccine. It said only people who have previously had severe allergic reactions to vaccines or ingredients in this particular vaccine should avoid getting the shot.

The Alaskan patient did not have a history of allergic reactions, said Dr Lindy Jones, the director of the emergency department in capital Juneau where the patient was treated.

The symptoms in the middle-aged patient resolved after being administered with allergy treatment epinephrine, Dr Jones added.

The patient was still being monitored at Juneau's Bartlett Regional Hospital on Wednesday.

Administration of the vaccine began on Monday in the US, following emergency-use authorisation last week.

Early doses have been set aside for healthcare workers and nursing home residents.

Meanwhile in Britain, the vaccine has been given to 140,000 people, and the feedback on side effects and tolerability has been reassuring, BioNTech's chief medical officer said yesterday.

Britain was the first to approve the shot for emergency use on Dec 3, followed by Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration.

"In Britain, 140,000 people have been vaccinated by now and the tolerability data are exactly as we have shown in our clinical trial," chief medical officer Oezlem Tuereci said in a webcast call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

She said side effects have been mild to moderate and short-lived, similar to those typically seen in other commonly used vaccines.

The German biotech firm's chief executive Ugur Sahin said in the call he was confident that normal life could resume by next winter. - REUTERS

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