Allergy risk on Pfizer jab: Day before FDA meet to give green light to vaccine UK regulators warn people with ‘significant’ food and medicine allergies NOT to take it after two health workers suffer ‘anaphylactic reaction’

  • Two British healthcare workers who got the vaccine on Tuesday have had allergic reactions
  • They are both now recovering well but British regulators are warning people with ‘severe’ food and medicine allergies not to get it yet as a precaution 
  • FDA regulators are meant to meet on Thursday to approve the vaccine for the US
  • It comes after widespread outrage that the UK approved it before America did 
  • During its trial phase, 137 of the 20,000 who got the vaccine had allergic reactions
  • But 111 people among the 20,000 who were given a placebo also had allergic reactions which made scientists dismiss it 
  • The soonest the US could start giving out doses is December 15 – just six days away 
  • It will not become widespread until mid March or April  

There are fears over how safe Pfizer’s COVID vaccine is after two British healthcare workers who were among the first in the world to receive it on Tuesday went into anaphylactic shock hours later, prompting British authorities to tell anyone with a ‘severe’ allergy to food or medicine not to get it.

The FDA is due to meet tomorrow to discuss green-lighting the vaccine in America after being lambasted for taking a week longer than the Brits to get it off the ground.

As of Tuesday, more than 15million people in the US had been diagnosed with COVID and the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic reached more than 284,000. That number is expected to climb as a result of Thanksgiving travel and gatherings.

In a preliminary analysis posted online on Tuesday, one group of FDA scientists said it was safe.

Among the 20,000 people who were given the vaccine in Pfizer’s global trial, 137 had allergic reactions but so did 111 people who were given the placebo, leading scientists to dismiss it as a potential hazard.

Four people did get Bell’s Palsy after receiving it, a type of facial paralysis, but the trial scientists said it was not necessarily the jab that caused it and was on par with the general rate of Bell’s Palsy in the wider population.

But Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on Wednesday warned people with a severe allergy to food or medicine not to get it.

In America, that applies to at least 200,000 people who have food allergies and many more who have drug allergies.

The two healthcare workers who were affected both carry EpiPens but no other information has been given. They are now said to be recovering well.

British scientists have told the public not to panic and say the vaccine is safe but there is still a large amount of skepticism surrounding it.


British regulators are advising that anyone who has a history of ‘significant’ allergic reactions to medicines, food or vaccines should not get the Pfizer coronavirus jab.

Allergic reactions to the vaccine are ‘very rare’, according to the trials involving more than 40,000 people.

Pfizer found a ‘very small number’ during its phase three clinical studies, or 137 out of 19,000 people who got the vaccine. But 111 people who were given a placebo also had allergic reactions.

They also identified 12 possible side-effects from the vaccine, with seven identified as ‘very common’ meaning they are likely to affect more than one in ten people. Below are the known side effects.

The patient safety leaflet for the vaccine cautions that anyone with an allergy to any of the active substances in the vaccine should not receive the jab.

Allergic reactions to the vaccine are:

Very common (Likely to affect more than one in ten people)

  • Pain at injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Headache 

Common (Likely to affect up to one in ten people)

  • Injection site swelling
  • Redness at injection site
  • Nausea 

Uncommon (May affect one in 100 people)

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Feeling unwell