The UK Jab: Two People Who Took The Pfizer Vaccine Suffer Allergic Reactions

Published December 9th, 2020 - 11:18 GMT
Residents wait to greet Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge as they visit Cleve Court Care Home in Bath in south west England to pay tribute to the efforts of care home staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, on December 8, 2020, on the final day of engagements on their tour of the UK. Paul Grover / POOL / AFP
Residents wait to greet Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge as they visit Cleve Court Care Home in Bath in south west England to pay tribute to the efforts of care home staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, on December 8, 2020, on the final day of engagements on their tour of the UK. Paul Grover / POOL / AFP
Highlights
The NHS in England said that all the trusts involved with the vaccination programme have been informed.

The UK's vaccine rollout has been thrown into doubt as two NHS staff who were given the jab yesterday suffered allergic reactions.

Both the healthcare workers, who carried EpiPens, are recovering from anaphylactoid reactions following the first day of the mass vaccination programme.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency gave precautionary advice to NHS trusts that anyone who has a history of 'significant' allergic reactions to medicines, food or vaccines should not receive the vaccine.

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS in England, said: 'As is common with new vaccines the MHRA have advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination after two people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely yesterday. Both are recovering well.'

The NHS yesterday embarked on its plan to vaccinate the entire population against coronavirus by rolling out the UK's new weapon in the war on Covid at 50 hospital sites to the over-80s, the vulnerable and at-risk frontline hospital and care home staff.

Last night thousands of elderly British patients urged vaccine sceptics to have the jab for the good of the country as health bosses prepared for a delivery of more than a million doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week.

The national vaccination drive was launched at 70 UK hospitals, with most doses given to the over-80s. Margaret Keenan, a Coventry grandmother, was first in line, declaring: 'If I can have it at 90, then you can have it too.'

Lyn Wheeler, 81, who was given the Pfizer jab in front of Boris Johnson at Guy's in London, called for everyone to do their duty so normal life can resume.  'It's all for Britain,' she added. 'I'm going for it because I feel there's no other way forward. We can't keep sitting in our houses.'

An initial 800,000 doses are being rolled out in the coming days and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised millions more before Christmas.

In other coronavirus news:  

  • Holidays abroad were given the green light for next summer by officials;
  • Care homes were told to expect doses of the vaccine by Christmas;
  • Mr Hancock appeared to well up on live TV as he described his pride at the rollout;
  • The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine was found to be 'safe and effective' in a major study in the Lancet;
  • However regulators face a decision over whether to approve the vaccine with a low-dose initial injection;
  • US regulators inched closer to approving the Pfizer jab for the most vulnerable;
  • Mr Johnson appeared to issue a warning about London following a rise in infection rates, sparking fears it could be plunged into Tier Three next week;
  • Chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance warned the public may still be wearing face masks a year from now;
  • Schools may be allowed to take an inset day on the last Friday of term so stressed teachers can have a 'proper break';
  • A further 616 people died of coronavirus, taking the total to 62,033. Another 12,282 cases were confirmed. 

Dr June Raine, the chief executive of the MHRA, told the Science Committee today there had been two allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine yesterday.

She said: 'I may share with the committees that even last evening we were looking at two case reports of allergic reactions.

'We know from the very extensive clinical trials that this wasn't a feature, but if we need to strengthen our advice now that we've had this experience in the vulnerable populations - the groups who've been selected as a priority - we get that advice to the field immediately.'

Dr Raine said careful plans had been made for 'real-time vigilance' when monitoring side effects from vaccinations and that any updates to advice for patients would be communicated 'immediately'.

She told the Committee regulators had been aware since last night of the two people who had experienced the reactions.

She said: 'The role is before, during and after, and there is a true end-to-end looking from the scientific laboratory bench through to the patient who yesterday first received the vaccine.

'As an illustration to this, I may share with the committee that even last evening we were looking at two case reports of allergic reaction.

'We know from the very extensive clinical trials that this wasn't a feature but if we need to strengthen our advice now that we have had this experience in the vulnerable populations... we will get that advice to the field immediately.'

The MHRA advice states: 'Any person with a history of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food (such as previous history of anaphylactoid reaction or those who have been advised to carry an adrenaline autoinjector) should not receive the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine.

'Resuscitation facilities should be available at all times for all vaccinations. Vaccination should only be carried out in facilities where resuscitation measures are available.'

At least 5,000 people were inoculated – around 100 people in each centre – with 800,000 doses of the Pfizer /BioNtech vaccine already in the country as the UK's vaccine chief Kate Bingham predicted that in 2021 'we will all be going on summer holidays'.

The next to get the jab was William Shakespeare, 81, from near Stratford-upon-Avon – the Bard's home town – who appeared so relaxed many joked that to him, being the second person in the world to be vaccinated was 'much ado about nothing'.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was emotional as he watched Mrs Keenan getting the jab after a grim 2020, and cried on Good Morning Britain as Mr Shakespeare hailed the 'ground-breaking' jab that will 'start changing our lives'.

Mr Hancock wiped away tears as he told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid: 'It's been such a tough year for so many people and there's William Shakespeare putting it simply for everybody that we can get on with our lives'.

But in a gloomy warning for Britain he added: 'There's still a few months to go, I've still got this worry that we can't blow it now Piers, we've still got to get the vaccine to millions of people so we've got to keep sticking to the rules, there's so much work gone into this – it makes me proud to be British'.

Later in the Commons a more composed Mr Hancock gave a statement to MPs on the vaccine's rollout and joined in on the Shakespeare puns, declaring: 'If you prick us, do we not bleed?'

Boris Johnson, who watched people getting vaccinated at Guy's Hospital yesterday, said: 'It's a shot in the arm for the entire nation, but we can't afford to relax now'.

At 6.30am, wearing a bright blue 'Merry Christmas' T-shirt, Mrs Keenan, known as 'Maggie' to friends and family, could be seen smiling under her mask as the nurse May Parsons at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire injected her with the life-saving medicine.

Mrs Keenan, a former jewellery shop assistant who only retired four years ago, has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren.

She said: 'I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19, it's the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year.

'I can't thank May and the NHS staff enough who have looked after me tremendously, and my advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it – if I can have it at 90 then you can have it too.' 


It came as V-Day heroes last night urged vaccine sceptics to have the Covid jab for the good of the country ahead of the arrival of more than a million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week.

Thousands of elderly British patients made history yesterday by being the first in the world to get the injection outside of medical trials.

The national vaccination drive was launched at 70 UK hospitals, with most doses given to the over-80s. Margaret Keenan, a Coventry grandmother, was first in line, declaring: 'If I can have it at 90, then you can have it too.'

Lyn Wheeler, 81, who was given the Pfizer jab in front of Boris Johnson at Guy's in London, called for everyone to do their duty so normal life can resume. 

'It's all for Britain,' she added. 'I'm going for it because I feel there's no other way forward. We can't keep sitting in our houses.'

The PM said: 'You have seen Lyn take it, you have seen people take the vaccine in large numbers. There's nothing to be nervous about. To all those who are scared – don't be.'

Day one saw around 5,000 people vaccinated, including the elderly, care home staff and NHS workers. An initial 800,000 doses are being rolled out in the coming days and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised millions more before Christmas.  

NHS bosses were last night told that they would received either 1.2 million or 1.6 million doses of the breakthrough Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine next week, with the remainder of an initial four million arriving the week after.

Writing in the Times Red Box, NHS England medical director Stephen Powis said GP surgeries would 'join up' across the country to support hospitals in the delivery of the jab, followed by larger vaccine hubs in key locations. 

Hospitals have been told they will be expected to use a minimum of one box of vaccine – 975 doses – during the first week, suggesting a total of almost 70,000.

Designated family doctors have been asked to operate from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, calling patients in for appointments by phone, message and letter.

Further stocks are due to arrive next week, before being checked and distributed to hospitals and surgeries across the UK from a secret storage facility.

Mr Hancock said he hoped 'several million' vulnerable people will have been given the jab by Christmas, paving the way for the easing of coronavirus restrictions by spring. Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, hailed yesterday as a turning point for the pandemic.

'This is the way out of it, the beginning of the end,' he added. 'It's not going to happen tomorrow, it's not going to happen next week or next month. We still need to socially distance, we need to follow all those restrictions in place.

'But, in 2021, vaccination programmes will mean we can get back to normality.'

NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens said: 'Less than a year after the first case of this new disease was diagnosed, the NHS has now delivered the first clinically approved Covid-19 vaccination – that is a remarkable achievement.'

Sir Simon also thanked all the scientists, health workers and volunteers who helped with the breakthrough.

US regulators last night confirmed that the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine was strongly protective against Covid-19.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to give the jab the green light within days, paving the way for thousands of Americans to join Britain's vaccination efforts.

Coronavirus was involved in a quarter of deaths recorded in the final week of November, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The number of fatalities in England and Wales fell for the first time in more than two months as the lockdown drew toward an end. 

Despite the fall in overall deaths, Covid fatalities rose and more people died than has been typical for the same time of the year.

There were 12,456 deaths in the week that ended on November 27 – 79 fewer than in the previous week.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

You may also like