Dr June Raine, head of the UK’s medical regulatory agency, MHRA, reported those reactions. She testified Wednesday to a parliamentary committee.
The UK began vaccinating elderly people and medical workers with a vaccine developed by American drug maker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech on Tuesday, the world’s first roll-out of the vaccine.
“We’re looking at two case reports of allergic reactions,’’ she said. “We know from the very extensive clinical trials that this wasn’t a feature…” she said.
Raine’s comments came as part of a general discussion of how her agency will continue to monitor people who receive the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine was authorized for emergency use last week.
Health officials also said people who have a “significant history’’ of allergic reactions should not receive the new vaccine. This is in effect while experts investigate the reactions.
Furthermore, Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the National Health Service in England, said health authorities are acting on a recommendation from the MHRA.
Europe’s worst outbreak
Seventy UK hospitals started the vaccine programme on Tuesday.
The UK has recorded 62,000 COVID-19 related deaths. This is more than any other country has reported in Europe, and at least 1.7 million cases.
Authorities will give the first 800,000 doses to people over 80. It will go to either hospitalized patients or already outpatient appointments scheduled, along with nursing home workers. Others will have to wait their turn.
The UK, home to about 67 million people, has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine. This is enough to inoculate 20 million people, as it is given in two injections, 21 days apart.
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