As one who has suffered the severest of allergic reactions, anaphylaxis, on several occasions after nut ingestion, I was quite worried when I heard that the British FDA-equivalent had announced that “any person with a history of anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.”
The UK began vaccinating its citizens on 12/8 and two recipients of the vaccine experienced anaphylaxis which required them to utilize the Epipens they were carrying. These two health care workers had previously experienced anaphylaxis (but I haven’t been able to determine what they reacted to.)
When the U.S. CDC issued its guidance to health care providers on administering the vaccine, however, the only contraindication was anaphylaxis to a component of the vaccine:
For those of us with severe food allergies, the question then became, “what are the components of the vaccine?”
At a webinar the held on Sunday the CDC addressed this and other questions . According to Stat News:
Amanda Cohn, an official with the CDC’s Covid-19 vaccine planning unit, said the vaccine consists of messenger RNA and four lipid nanoparticles and that there are no preservatives or other ingredients in the vaccine.
She said people could be allergic to a part of the lipid nanoparticle known as polyethylene glycol, or PEG, which is a component in other injectable medicines. “That is partially the reason for the extra precautions for persons who have (had reactions) to other injectables, Cohn said. “We are being abundantly cautious about this question related to allergic reactions. We don’t want people who have mild allergic reactions to be concerned about getting vaccinated.”
The CDC’s Sarah Mbaeyi, according to Stat News announced that:
“People that do report those types of anaphylactic reactions to other vaccines or injectables — they can still get the vaccine, but they should be counseled about the unknown risks of developing a severe allergic reaction and balance these risks against the benefit of vaccination,”
So those of us who have had anaphylaxis to food or oral medications can breathe a sigh of relief. Apparently there are no nuts or egg or milk components to worry about and we can get the vaccine. Be sure and bring your Epipens!
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