LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The United Kingdom is the first in the western world to launch a mass vaccination program against COVID-19.
While experts call it a historic day, there were two people who had a significant allergic reaction to the vaccine.
The National Health Service in England said in a statement both of the medical workers who experienced anaphylactoid reactions to the Pfizer vaccine had a strong past history of allergic reactions and that both had recovered after treatment.
“I think this is something we should expect, news to come out everyday of people reacting differently to what is basically a brand new biotech public health weapon that’s never been injected into humans before,” said Dr. Michael Hirt, founder of The Center For Integrative Medicine in Tarzana.
Now they are advising people with severe allergies to not get the vaccine – but it’s important to note they are not talking about seasonal allergies.
“People who have severe allergies are those who walk around with an Epipen and need to inject themselves if they got a bee sting or ate a peanut or some kind of reaction where their throat is gonna swell, their eyes are gonna swell shut, have trouble breathing or swallowing,” Hirt said.
British health officials warned that includes people who have had a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine or medicine in the past.
While the U.S. will likely start giving the Pfizer vaccine next week, healthcare workers and people living in long-term nursing facilities will be the first to get the dose.
But Dr. Hirt says people with the “three Os” should consider getting the vaccine when it’s available: those that are older, overweight or have other medical problems like asthma, heart disease, and diabetes.
“People who have high risk of dying or being seriously ill of Covid need to look at this vaccine very seriously because the risks of taking it may be much less than the risk of facing down Covid one on one,” said Hirt.
The state is expected to get doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week. About 84,000 of them will come to Los Angeles County.