People with severe allergies have been told not to receive the new Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after two health workers fell ill after getting the jab.
Britain started mass vaccinations yesterday, the first country to start inoculating its population against the virus.
Two NHS workers however subsequently developed anaphylactoid reactions though are said to be recovering well.
National Health Service medical director Stephen Powis said: “As is common with new vaccines the MHRA (regulator) have advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination.”
The UK’s medicines regulator the MHRA said it would investigate the incident further with both Pfizer and BioNTech adding that would assist the enquiry.
In a press conference today, Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would greatly reduce hospital admissions.
“It will reduce the mortality rate substantially. “Then it’ll start to reduce the number of people who go into hospital.
He added that the UK would also likely have three to four vaccines to choose from by the middle of next year at which point life might to start to return to normal.
“And at a certain point, society, through political leaders, will say this level of risk is something we are prepared to tolerate.”
Earlier the US regulator, the FDA , said that the vaccine’s efficacy and safety data met its expectations for authorisation.
Elsewhere, the UK’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, said today it would undertake a full review of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca PLC. (LON:AZN) to determine the most appropriate dosage to use.
Initial results from the Astra/Oxford trial sparked a wave of commentary when the study revealed an efficacy of 62% for trial participants given two full doses, but 90% for a smaller sub-group given a half treatment followed by a full dose.
“Clearly, we have great interest into the possible reasons for the different doses having a different efficacy,” said June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA.