Health workers in Alaska had a serious reaction after Pfizer’s vaccination

A health worker in Alaska had a severe allergic reaction after receiving Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine Tuesday and was hospitalized, according to three people familiar with official reports on the person’s health. The person is in a stable condition.

Government officials fought to learn more about the case on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if the worker had any past allergies, making it difficult to assess the greater significance of the incident, as millions of Americans will be vaccinated in the coming weeks. The reaction was thought to be similar to the anaphylactic reactions two health workers in the UK had after receiving the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine last week. Both recovered.

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In the company’s US study of more than 40,000 people, no serious adverse events were identified from the vaccine, although many participants experienced pain, fever, and other side effects. Serious allergic reactions to vaccines are typically associated with the vaccine because of their timing.

A Pfizer representative did not immediately comment on the case.

Pfizer officials said the two Britons who had the reaction had severe allergies in the past.

In the United States, federal regulators on Friday gave adults ages 16 and older a full approval for the vaccine. Healthcare providers have been warned not to give the vaccine to anyone with a “known history of a severe allergic reaction” to any component of the vaccine. This is a standard warning for vaccines.

Because of the UK cases, Food and Drug Administration officials have announced that they will require Pfizer to step up surveillance for anaphylaxis and provide data on it once the vaccine comes into use. Pfizer also said it is recommended that the vaccine be given in environments that have access to anaphylaxis treatment equipment. Last weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that people with severe allergies can be safely vaccinated under close surveillance for 30 minutes after receiving the shot.

Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening, with difficulty breathing and drops in blood pressure that usually occur within minutes or even seconds of exposure to a food, drug, or even a substance such as latex that the person is allergic to.