CDC: Severe allergic reactions from COVID-19 vaccines rare

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A total of 21 anaphylaxis cases were reported among the first nearly 2 million Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses administered between Dec. 14-23, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published Jan. 6.

Of the 21 cases that were determined to be anaphylaxis, 17 had a history of allergic reactions or allergies, while seven had previously experienced anaphylaxis. The majority of cases occurred within the first 15 minutes after vaccination. In 19 of those cases, epinephrine was given as part of treatment. A total of four patients were hospitalized, while 17 were treated in the emergency department. 

The CDC was able to follow up with 20 of the people who experienced the severe allergic reaction and found that all had recovered. 

"Based on early safety monitoring, anaphylaxis after Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine appears to be a rare event," the report said. However, the CDC advised vaccination locations to ensure they have supplies on hand to manage anaphylaxis, prescreen recipients to identify those who may be at risk and enact post-vaccination observation periods based on a patient's history, among other guidance. 

To view the full report, click here. 

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