In December 2020, the FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations for two mRNA-based vaccines for COVID-19. The first to be approved was Pfizer on Dec. 11th. The second to follow was Moderna on Dec. 18th. Shortly after people started to get vaccinated, cases of anaphylaxis began to surface.
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction. The most common anaphylactic reactions are to foods (peanuts), insect stings (venom, bees), medication and latex.
In this case, anaphylaxis occurred anywhere between minutes to hours after vaccination. Still, the risk of experiencing this is incredibly rare, according to this new report.
66 Cases Out of ~17.8 Million Doses
During December 14, 2020 through January 18, 2021, a total of 9,943, 247 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 7,581,429 doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered in the US.
A total of 66 reports of anaphylaxis were identified through VAERS. The data showed 47 cases following Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, for a reporting rate of 4.7 cases/million doses administered, and 19 cases following Moderna vaccine, for a reporting rate of 2.5 cases/million doses administered.
The CDC concluded that the clinical characteristics of anaphylaxis cases following both vaccines were similar. Common signs and symptoms in anaphylaxis cases were generalized urticaria, diffuse erythematous rash, angioedema, respiratory and airway obstruction symptoms, and nausea.
In 61 (92%) of the anaphylaxis cases, patients received epinephrine as part of emergency treatment. All 66 individuals were treated in health care settings; 34 (52%) were treated in an emergency department and 32 (48%) were hospitalized.
The majority of anaphylaxis cases with follow-up information available are known to have been discharged from care or had recovered at the time of report to VAERS. No deaths from anaphylaxis after vaccination with either product were reported.
When you consider the mortality risk of dying from COVID-19, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risk of anaphylaxis, which is treatable. If we want to put an end to the pandemic, the world needs to reach herd immunity. This is why everyone that can, should take the vaccine. Because there will always be a percentage of people that can’t due to allergies or pre-existing health conditions.