British regulators issue warning after 2 allergic reactions to Pfizer's vaccine

Two healthcare workers in the U.K. had anaphylactic reactions to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, prompting the National Health Service to issue a warning for people with a history of severe allergic reactions to not get the vaccine, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

Both of the workers were among the first few thousand people to receive Pfizer's vaccine in the U.K., where it was approved Dec. 2. The U.K. is prioritizing vaccinating healthcare workers, people over 80 years old and residents and staff of nursing homes. 

The healthcare workers who had the allergic reactions are both recovering well, the NHS said, according to the Journal. The agency is investigating the incident and plans to issue more advice on the vaccine after looking deeper into the workers' allergic reactions. 

"The Pfizer data showed that about 0.6% of people had some form of allergic reaction in the trial on the vaccine, but about 0.5% on placebo," Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told the Journal. "So there was a genuine excess of allergic reaction, but this was small, and the true rate is not known, and there is a lot of uncertainty around that estimate."

He added that the general population doesn't need to be anxious about the vaccine because people often have similar allergic reactions to such things as common household foods. Allergic reactions occur with a lot of vaccines, so the incident isn't unexpected, he told the Journal

Vaccinations should always take place in facilities where resuscitation measures are available, the NHS said. 

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