There are two vaccines for Coronavirus, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. They are both mRNA vaccines, which are vaccines that use a copy of messenger mRNA to produce an immune response. This triggers our bodies to produce antibodies that help fight off a virus. The notable difference between the two is that Moderna can be store at a lower temperature, thus making it suitable and accessible to communities, smaller hospitals, and pharmacies.
Last week, fewer than 10 patients in one San Diego clinic who received the Moderna vaccine experienced allergic reactions in the span of 24 hours of being administered the vaccine, many reports say. They received medical attention. This was quickly noted as abnormal.
According to the CDC, although fewer data exist on adverse reactions related to the Moderna vaccine, a similar vaccine shows that the expected rate of anaphylaxis is approximately 1 in 100,000. Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
COVID-19 vaccine ingredients can trigger allergic reactions, but officials say it is rare. As with all medication or biological products, people can be allergic to certain vaccines. There are even cases of anaphylaxis receiving the flu shot. Although these are expected, and facilities are well-eqipped to handle situations with care, and such cases are monitored and reported.
The normal vaccine distribution procedure requires monitoring of 15 minutes after receiving a dose. People who have a history of severe reactions to prior vaccines or injectable drugs are monitored for 30 minutes afterward. These individuals may still get the vaccines for Covid-19 but
should discuss the risks with their doctors.
“If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate
allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—after getting the first dose of the vaccine, you should not get another dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine,” The CDC states.
Following the events in San Diego, The California Department of Public Health paused all distribution of lot 41L20A of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, from which those patients received their vaccines from.
California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica S. Pan had issued the following statement: “Out of an extreme abundance of caution and also recognizing the extremely limited supply of vaccine, we are recommending that providers use other available vaccine inventory and pause the
administration of vaccines from Moderna Lot 041L20A until the investigation by the CDC, FDA, Moderna and the state is complete.”
More than 1.2 million doses were produced from this lot, and almost a million delivered across 37 states, according to reports.
Earlier this month, more than 330,000 vaccine doses were distributed to 287 providers across California.
Kern County’s medical facilities received a total of 6,350 doses. Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, Brimhall Primary Care Center, Express Pharmacy, Adventist Health Bakersfield, Adventist Health Delano, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, Brimhall Pediatricsmm Clinica Sierra Vista, Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield, Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, Westside Family Health Care, Kern County Public Health received a number of these. None of them have reported any similar events which occurred at the San Diego clinic, according to the Kern County Public Department.
The pause recommendation has since then been lifted.
“We convened the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup and additional allergy and immunology specialists to examine the evidence collected,” the California Department of Public Health said in a statement.
“We had further discussions with the County of San Diego Department of Public Health, the FDA, CDC, and manufacturer, and found no scientific basis to continue the pause.”
This story was written as part of the Kern Sol News COVID-19 Awareness Campaign, which strives to inform Kern County of the latest COVID-19 news and educate the community on how to remain safe during the pandemic.