Story at a glance
- Health officials on Wednesday said the worker began experiencing an anaphylactic reaction about 10 minutes after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at Bartlett Regional Hospital.
- The reaction included flushing and shortness of breath, and she was transferred to the emergency room.
- Officials said she is doing well and expected to be released Wednesday.
A health care worker in Alaska experienced a severe allergic reaction after receiving Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine Tuesday afternoon in Juneau, according to Anchorage Daily News.
Health officials on Wednesday said the worker began experiencing an anaphylactic reaction about 10 minutes after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at Bartlett Regional Hospital. The reaction included flushing and shortness of breath and she was transferred to the emergency room.
Officials say the worker had an elevated heart rate and a red rash on her face and torso and was treated with epinephrine and antihistamines, which her body responded to. But her symptoms emerged again and she was treated with more epinephrine and steroids.
Doctors said she was moved to the intensive care unit for observation overnight but was in stable condition and doing well Wednesday. She’s expected to be released Wednesday evening as long as she doesn’t show any symptoms. Due to her reaction, she will not be receiving the second dose that is normal protocol with the vaccine.
Federal guidelines advise people receiving the vaccine to be observed for 15 minutes after the shot is given, while people with a history of allergic responses should be observed for 30 minutes. Authorities say the woman had no history of drug allergies.
“We will closely monitor all reports suggestive of serious allergic reactions following vaccination and update labeling language if needed,” Pfizer spokeswoman Jerica Pitts said, according to The Washington Post. “The prescribing information has a clear warning/precaution that appropriate medical treatment and supervision should always be readily available in case of a rare anaphylactic event following the administration of the vaccine.”
The woman’s reaction is believed to be similar to the anaphylactic reactions of two health workers in Britain after receiving the vaccine last week. The incidents led the U.K. to issue a warning that anyone with a history of allergic reactions to medicine or food should not take the vaccine.
Pfizer’s trial of more than 40,000 participants did not find any serious health issues caused by the vaccine, and the shot was deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and given emergency use approval.
The first doses of the vaccine were rolled out Monday to health care workers all across the country.
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