After 2 allergic reactions in the UK, Houston doctor says vaccines still safe

Thursday, December 10, 2020
Pfizer vaccine is safe, top Houston expert says
The Pfizer vaccine has already been tested on thousands of people, and a Houston vaccine expert hopes the FDA doesn't prompt fear after allergic reactions were reported.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and COVID-19 vaccine expert Dr. Peter Hotez says there should be minimal concern regarding allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech.

"When we vaccinate people, allergic reactions are not uncommon, they do occur. And sometimes even severe reactions, but they're extremely rare. We're talking on the order of one in a million," Hotez said.

He says the Pfizer vaccine is safe.

The Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and protects men and women equally, along with people of different races and ethnicities.

It's safe for people who are 16 and older to receive.

But there is new concern after two health workers in the U.K. suffered adverse reactions and had to use their EpiPen after getting the shot on the first day of receiving vaccinations.

After the reported reactions, a broad warning was issued for people who suffer from severe allergies to hold off on receiving the vaccination.

But Hotez says he hopes the FDA uses a different, more specific allergy warning for Americans. He recommended not "vaccinating individuals with a previous history of an allergic reaction to a vaccine or injection."

He said more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies with 3.6 million carrying EpiPens.

Hotez worries about placing fear in such a large swath of the population.

The Pfizer vaccine has already been tested on thousands of Americans with side effects similar to that of getting the flu vaccine like pain at the injection site, headache, fever, fatigue and muscle pain.

Hotez said all symptoms should subside within one to two days.

He says Americans with allergies should still plan to get their COVID-19 vaccine after a discussion with a primary care physician.

"After we vaccinate, we're keeping them under observation for 30 minutes so if there is any severe reaction they can be medically managed."

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